Being associated with the teaching fraternity, it is indeed very unfortunate to come to know about a serious scuffle between two senior professors at Kashmir University over a petty issue that landed the duo in the nearby police station for lodging FIRs against each other. Such incidents are not only shocking but also discouraging to the academic community. They reflect a dismal state of affairs and cut a sorry figure which invites nothing but disgrace to the institution and distress among the fraternity.
There is not an iota of doubt in the fact that academics all over the nation and more particularly in our union territory are beset with challenges and bottlenecks. We see research scholars most often getting scolded and tortured by their supervisors, junior faculty members looked down upon by the seniors, and contractual staff sailing in the same boat with innumerable grievances at having to dance to the whims of their permanent and senior bosses. Besides, we are witness to the lobby system in different colleges and universities. But scuffles between faculty members and heads of departments not only give birth to the notion of “departments within departments” but also breed antagonistic tendencies and disastrous outcomes.
All this is prevalent and has been in vogue since time immemorial. The irony is that its roots are encroaching deeper into our academic seats of learning and becoming more widespread day in and day out. The question that strikes one’s mind is that being teachers what are we providing and promulgating in our students and our junior fellows? Is this what we are being appointed for? Where are we leading our youngsters and in which direction? Do we deserve to call ourselves as true mentors or in that case who is responsible for spoiling our academic atmosphere?
All these are questions that need to be looked into with much seriousness and broader perspectives by each one of us. Above all, these are the reflections of a narrow approach, myopic vision and blurred outlook. When we intend to harm or even think or speak untoward about any fellow being, we are in turn harming none but ourselves only. Such ideas and incidents of scuffling, backbiting or indecency show for a few moments only but the aftershocks attain permanent and disastrous nature.
Thereafter, we are always looked upon in the context of these distasteful and bitter episodes only. Rather, we become their brand ambassadors and leave a bad impression on others, at the cost of our character and reputation. Besides, the detrimental under-currents are passed to the coming generations which breed further antagonism, indiscipline and disorder in the system.
All this must be stopped and penalised. An appropriate policy to deal with such episodes at respective levels of hierarchy is the need of the hour. A healthy academic atmosphere free from bias, prejudice, ego or any other superiority-inferiority complex should be given chance to flourish. We must not involve ourselves in maintaining any false narratives or status quo as it hampers not only our progress but also halts the process of our individual as well as collective development. All this is possible only if we prioritise the etiquettes of cooperation, mutual respect, coordination and compromise over all the other vociferous tendencies. Let’s give patience, positive attitude, broader outlook, and hope a chance to act and try to become role models and lighting lamps for others. It is high time to wake up and keep aside all our grudges and indifferences for the sake of our institutions, which are the greatest resource as well as glory of our own nation and generation.
The writer teaches Geography at Sri Pratap College, Srinagar. [email protected]