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Braving all odds: Hundreds of grade two and grade three teachers are going through difficult times

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Mushtaq Hurra

Foundations of an ideal and strong society are laid in the four walls of a class room. It is education which decides the fate and future of a nation. And teacher is the architect who shapes up human resources to the best possible levels, to harness the available natural resources to the best of their potential.

Thus, teachers in any society are the real forces behind any social, political and economic development. And these heroes should be held in high reverence and unimpeachable rectitude. History is witness to the fact that societies which have exalted and elevated their teachers to the highest levels of glory, are ruling the hearts and minds of people, and those who consider teacher as poor ‘Masterji’ are being trampled under the dirty feet. Though such people are constitutionally free but they are still moving around with the yokes of slavery in their necks.

Teachers of our erstwhile state have been receiving media hype and attention for mixed reasons. Sometimes, they are castigated for extremely poor results and performances of students in examinations, and sometimes, they are forced to hit roads for the deprivation of their legitimate rights and privileges like salaries and statutory perks.

One particular teaching community in JK grabbed headlines during the last four or five years. Different media houses and some conscienceless politicians of our erstwhile state succeeded in their nefarious designs to humiliate these teachers. And the acronym of ReT was wrongly projected in masses to develop a bad connotation of it.

Formerly known as SSA teachers, grade two and grade three academicians have been put to extreme difficulties and hard times. Though most of these teachers have already taken a sigh of relief with the approval of their services as grade two and grade three teachers in 2018 and 2019 respectively, but hundreds of teachers are still awaiting the formal orders from their respective directorates viz Directorate of school education Kashmir and directorate of school education Jammu.

These teachers are without salaries for last two years. One can imagine the plight of these teachers and their families. Their families are facing extremely arduous and strenuous times. Very recently, one such teacher at zonal education office Hajin, district Bandipora was virtually crying.

He told me that both his parents are CA patients, and his wife is suffering from some acute gynaecological ailment but he is unable to take his ailing dear ones to Srinagar for treatment. It was heartrending to know that he prays for the eternal departure of his ailing parents because debt has broken his back.

He went on to say that he has requested one of his friends to bear the expenditure of last rites of his sick parents in case anyone dies. His children are badly suffering. They crave for candies of worth a rupee or two.  It is a widely accepted maxim that justice delayed is justice denied, and this is a live example of injustice.

The teacher told this columnist that he is hardly able to carry out his duties with dedication and commitment. “Off late, suicidal tendencies have been popping up in my mind continuously but then the plight of my ailing parents, spouse and little children comes to my rescue “.

When the academicians and teachers of a nation are in such a state of mind, one can easily imagine the academic standards of that nation.

There are hundreds of such teachers who are the sole bread earners of their families but the official insensitivity and apathy has put their families to starvation. Many have sold the jewellery of their spouses or their ancestral properties viz farm lands, orchards and even residential houses.

Many teachers have switched to part-time jobs like sand extraction or carpet weaving. Many teachers have taken up different menial jobs to make both ends to meet. These teachers are treated as paupers and beggars by the shopkeepers because they owe big debts to these shopkeepers. No one can lend them a hundred rupee note or a packet of biscuits. They are looked down and ridiculed by every Tom, Dick and Harry of our society.

This official and administrative callousness has not only added to the problems of these teachers but it is probably an unconscious attempt to put the academic careers of their own children and others  who are supposed to be their taught, at stake.

How can one expect them to be motivated and enthusiastic enough in their classrooms to achieve the motive of academic excellence? It will not only add to their woes but will certainly damage our collectivism as a nation because academic lacunas of our today will reflect in our tomorrow.

Depression and anxiety has left these teachers as mere robots who can walk and talk only. These teachers are seen making rounds of different offices of the concerned department. Trade union organizations and their leaders hardly pay any heed to their plight. No doubt, their issue is discussed with the concerned officials but the resolution of the issue is still a distant dream for these teachers. Who will come to their rescue? Who will balm their bruised bosoms? Believe me, they are virtually mad and almost insane because you have been tormenting them for a prolonged period.

Academic standards of the children, who are the students of these teachers, have undergone some serious and almost irreparable damage. But, can these teachers be held guilty? No, not at all! The files of these teachers have been cleared but some obstinate and egoistic officials have probably some personal grudge or bias with this category of teachers. They are being punished for none of their sins. If these teachers have no genuine discrepancies in their service records and other documents, then why do the concerned officials delay their confirmations? The deplorable state of these teachers is enough to melt mountains but too meager to melt the hearts of the people at the helm of affairs.

Now, enough is enough. The tormented teachers wish a quick and fast redressal of their pending issues. Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, Girish Chander Murmu and his three advisors are requested to intervene into the matter personally to end the miseries of these teachers. Teachers with happy state of mind are sure to perform their duties with dedication and honesty. Hope my column reaches to the concerned houses.

(The writer is a Teacher and a Columnist. He can be reached at mushtaqhurra143@gmail.com)

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