Why Are Teachers in Kashmir Crying

It is obligatory and mandatory for every em­ployer to pay salaries and remunerations to its employees well in time. Timely salaries of employees motivate them to put in their 100 % energies and efforts to get the desired results. A department, a firm or a company is sure to prosper and progress, if it takes care of the legiti­mate rights of its employees. On the other hand, a department or a company is certain to fail to achieve the set targets, if it ignores and neglects its work force. Many employers come up with incentives and perks for employees to draw the best out of them. Such employers touch the mile­stones and reach the zenith of progress. But, If the workforce is not paid in time how can employers expect them to work with zeal and zest.

Something same is happening in our part of globe. Our school education department is grabbing the headlines for starving its 41,000 teachers working under erstwhile SSA and RMSA. The stalemate between these teachers and the government took ugly turns when these teachers boycotted class work earlier this year and took to roads and streets. From sloganeer­ing to candlelight marches, almost every means of protest was made use of. Even, these teachers were baton charged on the auspicious occasion of Eidul-Azha when the aggrieved teachers had assembled in the heart of the Srinagar city viz Lalchowk. Even, this protest couldn’t melt the ice and these teachers made use of track two diplomacy by meeting different officios. But, this too proved a futile exercise. Finally, the teachers, under the banner of ‘ Teachers Joint Action Committee’ and ‘Jammu and Kashmir Rehberi-Taleem Teachers Forum’ sat on a chain hunger strike at both the capitals of Jammu and Kashmir. It took them almost a month to move the top brass of our state, and finally, on the 26th of the last, the incumbent governor, Mr. Satya Paul Malik called these teachers to his official residence and promised them the fulfill­ment of their demand viz 7th Pay Commission benefits. His Excellency went on to say that had he been apprised in time about the legitimacy of their genuine demands, I would have resolved it earlier.

The teachers felt a great relief as the denial of seventh pay commission benefits was hitting them badly. The teachers distributed sweets and made celebrations of extraordinary nature. Trade union leaders were garlanded and lifted on the shoulders. The decision of governor administra­tion was hailed by almost one and all including the intelligentsia of the society because the con­frontation between the stakeholders of education was a big loss to our nation. The joy was even vividly visible on the faces of the kith and kin of these teachers. Duties were resumed, and the official promise seemed to had injected a new lease of life into the nerves of these teachers. The academics had picked up pace the teachers were trying hard to compensate the losses by taking zero classes.

Authorities had promised to release the salary of September on priority basis as per seventh pay commission recommendations. But the promise has so far proved a hoax. Authori­ties have not come up with an adequate response so far. The delay is sometimes attributed to a formal order from governor administration or to the unavailability of funds. There seems to be a coordination gap between the school education department and the finance department of our state. The clouds of uncertainty are hovering over the salary of these teachers. Though the trade union leaders are making frequent visits to the state project director’s office but they fail to make a proclamation of good news to the ag­grieved and annoyed Teachers.

Now, the first fortnight of October has cul­minated but these teachers are yet to see the new dawn of their hopes. This teaching community is still waiting for any positive. The virtual dead­lock persists as earlier. The miseries and woes of these teachers have piled up and increased by manifolds. They are not able to make the both ends to meet. Their families are going through very difficult times. These teachers are not able to purchase the daily goods of essential importance. Their ailing parents are craving for life saving drugs, their children are not in a position to buy the snacks of worth rupees five. The huge burden of debts has broken the backs of these teachers.

But, they are not asking for any favor from the authorities to end their miseries. It is the hard earned money of these teachers which is being withheld by authorities illegally. These teachers are the state servants and the state is bound to pay them in time. It is the moral responsibility of the state administration to pay its employees in time.

This community of teachers is under acute stress and depression. Their social life has been badly by the prolonged delay in their salaries. They are losing the credibility in the society which they used to enjoy earlier. They are looked down as liars and defaulters.

Who is responsible for all the mess? The answer is ‘ the people at the helm of affairs ‘.If the employer is not able to pay the salaries to its em­ployees then it must quit on moral grounds. The workforce working under the erstwhile SSA and RMSA is exceedingly unhappy so the employer has lost the credibility to remain power.

This callousness and insensitivity is sure to hit the professional endeavors of these teachers very badly. A teachers who is without salary for four months, whose ailing parents are dying for essential drugs, whose children are not able to buy a simple candy. How can such teachers de­liver justice to their professions? How can they abandon themselves in the classroom? How can they give their best? The onus is on the authori­ties for all the academic and intellectual losses to our society.

Civil society must break the silence over this sensitive issue. Salary denial to teachers is not a mere monetary denial rather a criminal act which can weaken the foundations of a nation. In­tellectuals and writers hold the responsibility to aware the government about the I’ll consequences of this non seriousness. It will not only add to the agonies of teachers but will surely leave us as illiterate, ignoramus and clumsy as a nation. And it is a proven fact that illiterates fall most often to the clutches of slavery.

I fail to understand the logic behind behind this official apathy. If these teachers have been reckoned as part of state establishment then why are they meted out with step-motherly treat­ment. These Teachers are in virtual trauma, and how can common masses and authorities expect miracles from these teachers? The indifference will surely hit our future very badly.

Examinations have almost started or are about to start in our schools. These teachers have again threatened to hit the roads and streets in case their salaries are not released immediately. Any further confrontation will cost us huge. It can result in a catastrophe. Alleged examina­tion boycott will leave students dejected and will demoralize psychologically.

Now, the ball is in the court of the govern­ment. The immediate resolution will show their sincerity and care for the children of lesser God who are seeking the interpretation of their dreams in the schools where teachers are virtu­ally crying and starving. Let us hope, the authori­ties will end this delaying tactic and will address the genuine demands of Rehberi-Taleem teachers and will release their salaries in a couple of days otherwise a wave of new confrontations will leave our elementary educational system lame and crip­pled. Hope, the good sense prevails very soon.



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