By Dr Fayaz Ahmad Bhat
The State of Jammu and Kashmir is divided into two educational zones Jammu and Kashmir division. Jammu division excels Kashmir in many areas and aspects the notable ones are development, education, industry and work culture.
The colleges falling in Jammu divisions are mostly headed by the Jammuties (Principals from Jammu) and colleges falling in Kashmir division are headed by the Kashmiris (Principals from Kashmir). Observations and interactions reveal that there is lot of difference not only in the work culture and function of colleges but in transparency and accountability as well. The thing which is common in the colleges of two divisions is that teachers are mostly engaged on contract bases which is officials termed as academic arrangement in the state. The interaction with the teachers who have worked in the colleges of both divisions bring forth staring difference in the process of selection and work culture of two divisions. Those who worked in both divisions believe that Jammu division is more transparent in the process of selection of teachers. Not only this work culture in the colleges of two divisions is poles apart from each other; a teacher working on contract bases in Jammu divisions is treated at par with regular teachers. They are respected more than what they actually deserve, said a teacher of English literature who has worked in the both divisions. While as in Kashmir it is totally reverse. Being a contractual teacher means being an untouchable in Kashmir division, not only staff rooms are separated for contractual teachers but the cups used for tea cannot be exchanged, said Urdu teacher working since last eight years on contract bases in Kashmir division.
Recently, I got a chance to interact with some teachers who have worked in the both divisions. On the one hand their revelation speaks loads of the hardships and psychological tortures they are going through, on the other hand it speak volumes about the culture, the culture of arrogance prevalent in the colleges of Kashmir division. From pick to kick everything is opaque, sighed a teacher. In Jammu divisions merit of a candidate, vacancies everything is open, a candidate is given choice to opt the college of his/her choice. His / her merit is of worth, while as merit has no value here (in Kashmir) he sighed again. Irshad (name changed) teaching political science said, here despite you are meritorious, highly qualified and deserving the Nodal principal while posting thinks he is doing a favour to you. His peon is assuming lot of airs behaving like Chief Minister of the State. Majnoon who have been working on academic arrangements since last eight years said that we have been posted 10 days before to government Degree College, Kulgam but principle of the said college did not allow us to join on the grounds that he has not received order from the Nodal Principal. In Jammu division an order copy is handed over to a candidate at the time of posting and next day he/she joins the college, said Abrar. Abrar was looking very annoyed with himself when asked for the reason he replied, f**K the system and my brain I resigned from Jammu college as I got selected here but since ten days I am roaming pillar to post as orders are still to reach Kulgam. Next to him was a colleague of mine from Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, he said Fayaz Bai, never think of Kashmir you will just waste your time here, last year I worked in GDC Kulgam for about three months my salary was released after 7 months with deduction of one month and still I am handed over an experience certificate by the principal of the college, every time I ask him for the experience certificate he came with a new excuse. He feels I am begging to him. First his peon acts arrogantly and then he gives you next date as you are facing a trail in court, Naar dis systemus (hell with the system) he sounded in anger.
A teacher who had recently resigned from Jammu division and joined a college in Kashmir division said, This is my second biggest mistake in my life once I refused offer of post doc in United Kingdom and second was resigning at Jammu division. I reached college early in the morning I was the second person among teachers to reach the college. Students were just gathering, staff was yet to arrive and principal was still to reach. After some time some students came asked to hold class I went to hold class without marking attendance as principal was still to arrive as he use to keep attendance register with him. After finishing class I went to mark the attendance the principal had already marked me absent. This was not the by first time that despite I was present in the college and on time I was marked absent earlier same thing has happened with me. Now whenever I am going to mark the attendance the red marks besides my name acts as bullet, I consider these red marks, bad marks on my character he suspired. This was not the end, there were many similar such narrations and ordeals which spoke volumes about the culture of colleges in Kashmir.
With folded hands and very humbly I pray to all the college principals of Kashmir valley please shun the culture of arrogance. Ask your non teaching staff to respect teachers not because they are well qualified and higher in status but they are all humans and members of the same family (college). Bring transparency in the process of selection and posting. If you have no role model there in Kashmir I request you to visit GDC Banihal, spend some time with the Principal of the college, Prof (Dr) Anil Gupta to imbibe some traits.
Lastly, I would suggest them to think over the following famous lines of Iqbal:
1. Tu abhi reh guzar mai hai qaid-e makaam se guzar
Misar o hijaaz se guzar, paarse o sham se guzar
[ don’t confine yourself to any one particular place and consider yourself complete you
are still in the mid way, transend the boundries of chair, power and prestige]
2. Jis ka amal hai be garad, us ki jaza kuch aur hai
Hur o- khyam se guzar, baadh-o- jam se guzar
[One who does deeds with the desire of reward, to win favours, show power and existance is no way par to a person who does things for common good and is always ready to extend helping hands for needy and hapless]
3. Tera imam be huzoor, teri namaaz be surror
Aisi namaz se guzar, aise imam se guzar
[All you models and teachers are characterless thus resulting vain of your good deeds.
Transend them all your teacher, model and deeds]