By Mushtaq Hurra
Official promises, written orders, verbal assurances, committee formations, reports and other things but the miseries and agonies of SSA teachers are not over.The incumbent governor, his advisors and the other higher ranked officials have taken us on a ride again. The month long hunger strike at Jammu and Srinagar had awakened a ray of hope when the teacher leadership was called to Raj Bhawan by the governor’s administration and it was officially ordered by the incumbent governor that the September salary would be released as per the 7th pay commission recommendations.
Teachers had celebrated it as victory but the pestle didn’t leave Lalded. Nothing substantial happened.SSA teachers have been waiting since then. Almost two months have passed but their fate didn’t change.
Today, I won’t write about the contribution, merit, genuineness and legitimacy of their case rather would like to highlight the failure of administration to deliver justice in their case. Is it official callousness or administrative failure? Who shall be held responsible? Whom to blame? According to reliable sources, the incumbent governor’s administration had tried its level best to deprive the SSA teachers from the benefits of the 7th pay commission and other service privileges but the genuineness and legitimacy of the case didn’t allow them to succeed in their designs.
Now, when the genuineness and legitimacy is established, when there is no doubt about the legitimacy of being a part of state establishment but still then, the resolution of the issue seems to be a distant dream though it has been promised by the people at the helm of affairs. Treacherous approach of authorities has diminished the hopes of teachers which had risen in September 2018.
How can masses and authorities expect the best from these teachers who have been starving? And, whose children and parents are craving for different necessities of life? I wonder, if authorities consider these teachers as human beings! They are not angels. They have needs like you and other people. Their children feel the pangs of cold in this chilly winter. Their parents too need medicine. They too have to visit their relatives for different purposes like marriages, mourning and so on. The harshest season of the year has already caught us all tightly. Who knows not the necessary extra expenses of winter? Woolen garments, fuel and some other necessary stuff can’t be compromised with but these teachers are cursing their fates for being employees. Piled up miseries have put this community of teachers in trauma.
I won’t beg before authorities on behalf of these teachers but I would call it an administrative failure to complicate the issue through deceptive means. World is making big strides in development, progress and prosperity because these advanced nations have developed and advanced educational systems where a teacher is at the top of the hierarchy but our case is totally different and contrasting. Our people at the helm of affairs too wish to change the system rather brag to make exemplary changes in the system, but ironically, always look for cheap and treacherous means to deny teachers their hard-earned salaries.
Appreciation, acknowledgement and perks for our teachers are not in syllabi of our system. If there is anything for them, it is denial and deprivation. Our teacher is still ‘ poor master ‘ ( Bichoar Masterji ).Our public and official perception is still outmoded about our teacher, then how can we expect him to be an European or American teacher who is the virtual king of the country. Our teachers’ American and European counterpart is a 24 hour teacher with all the comforts under his feet or her. He or she spends his or her time in the library, equipping himself or herself with the latest trends in academics but our teacher is forced to look for a part time job to provide his family mouthful of meals. Everyone is cursing the teacher for the messy situation in our educational system but no one dares to look into the reasons that have left the system in dilapidated conditions.
Let people at the helm of affairs change their attitude towards teachers, I promise miraculous changes in the system but you are playing delaying tactics with your teachers, which is sure to spoil the system. Trade union leaders have once again decided to switch over to confrontation path. Will it yield authorities anything? No, not at all. It will only hit the already poor academic standards of the downtrodden children of our society .Is it a conspiracy against our poor children or is it your callousness towards the teachers of our society?
Now, the onus is on the people at the helm of affairs. Given the legitimacy of the issue, it must be resolved once for all so that our teachers can concentrate on their job without resorting to the path of confrontation. Any further delay can turn things uglier. The administration must care for its own credibility. Hope is life and we live in hope, and let us hope the issue is resolved very soon to give this big community of teachers the much needed relief. Believe me, official insensitivity and delaying policy in the case has put these teachers to enormous humiliation and anxiety. Wish the administration’s adivisors and other higher rung officers would act like true statesmen to solve the grave issue!
The writer is a teacher, columnist and a social activist. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org