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SSA teachers: When will their suffering end?

SSA teachers: When will their suffering end?
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By Mushtaq Hurra

Official promises, written orders, verbal assurances, committee formations, reports and other things but the miseries and agonies of SSA teachers are yet to culminate. 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 Rajbhawan by the governor administration and it was officially ordered by the incumbent governor that September salary of the SSA teachers would be released as per 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 administration had tried its level best to deprive the SSA teachers from the benefits of 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 proven, 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? 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 do 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, mournings etc…
The harshest season of the year has already gripped us with severity. 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 fate for being employees of the government that hardly cares. Piled up miseries have put this community of teachers in virtual 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 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 teacher’s- American and European counterpart gets all the comforts under his feet. He spends his time in the library, equipping himself 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 the disgusting condition.
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.
People at the helm of affairs have adopted silence over this burning issue. It can lead us nowhere as a nation. Strikes and sit-in protests will surely halt our academic progress which is sure to leave us crippled and lame as a nation. Governor and his team was believed to break the ice because they do not depend on vote bank politics to score political mileage but this delaying tactic has dejected the teachers to the extent that they are looking for alternate jobs to feed their children and families.
Is it an achievement to celebrate or a blot to be ashamed of. Yes, it is undoubtedly an ugly blot on our collective conscience because the most respectable working class has been left at the mercy of God to starve. Isn’t it the violation of labour rights? A labourer who works sincerely should be paid in time. Even religious scriptures have laid emphasis on it to pay off a laborer before his sweat dries up. I pity our administrators who can spend hefty amounts on unimportant things but can’t pay their servants.
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. Administration must care for its own credibility. Governor’s word is equal to a thousand orders but our people are probably made up of cheap stuff who neither respect their own promises nor the words of others.
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 our adivisors and other higher rung officers would act like true statesmen to solve the grave issue. ‘Shaayad Ki Uttar Jaayay Tairay Dil Mei’n Mairee Baat’.

The writer is a teacher, columnist, poet, orator and a social activist. He can be reached at [email protected]

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