I was spellbound to find a galaxy of students hovering around the campus like butterflies in a mustard field
Finally the long wait ended, a spring of excitement bubbled and ruptured in our family when JKPSC uploaded the result. As I had dreamt, I found my name exactly in the middle, joy knew no bounds!The year was 2016.The month being August.
Ironically, the most important month in the history of two conterminous neighbors who since their deliverance from the curse and abuse of slavery had been daggers drawn until this day.
Almost two years has fled by, came and gone by like seasons of migratory spells. The day is still afresh in my memory lawn.
One such a day, as it can be in any ones’ life, a red letter day- the first day of his appointment. I will not recreate the ambience of that day aptly summarized in the words of my mother as, “finally a candle too ignited in our family”. I will talk about it some other day.
Beyond this day, there was nothing to celebrate about. When I joined my college, the things around our Valley were boiling. 2016, a year of mammoth rebellion and stagnation one can easily call it since everybody was caught in a web of giant activity and political imbroglio, waiting for a day that has not yet dawned. As captives of hope, we wish that dawn breaks sooner or later.
Nonetheless, for me and my family, it was a type of deliverance from the pain of unemployment although I had been working on academic arrangement; a position of nowhere.
As I joined, deserted college campus sunk in pale in gloom greeted my eyes. Fairly and squarely, I felt untamed wilderness ensconcing me. I thought it the year of general unrest and searching for poise and equanimity in the sea of turbulence was a far cry.
Therefore, prerequisite conditions for the classwork were nil at the bottom.
Perseverance came to my rescue. I am supposed to wait till the dust settles down and the sun shines again.The class room was absent in the year 2016.
Then came 2017, it was April in its prime, the sun was pleasant, the campus has overcome the weird look. Located at a vantage point, where one could gauge the height of gigantic mountains with Harmukh one of the peaks looking spectacular in whiteness with tinge of gold by the effect of slanting sunrays overlooking sparkling waters of Wular.
I was spellbound to find a galaxy of students hovering around the campus like butterflies in a mustard field.I went to my classroom and as usual found it empty. The benches waited for the occupants.
That day, there was a marginal presence of the students. Even those who turned up looked like owls caught in the daylight.
Somehow, I finished the day and students fell relaxed that this trauma was over.
The next day there was a meeting convened in the principal chamber and I missed my class. A discussion was held to understand the nitty-gritty of the semester system as well as choice based credit system.
I, like the rest of my colleagues,sensed the failure of the system because it had neither taken the ground situation of my beleaguered Valley into consideration nor has it given a damn thought to the weather.
Moreover, it hasn’t taken care of Kashmir’s plural society where a good number of gazette holidays had to be taken into consideration.
So it has been the story since then. Every day we go to college but mostly not for teaching. Sometimes my classroom is absent because of the orders from the top brass and classwork seems to be a law and order issue; sometimes axe falls on classwork due to a routine strike call, on occasions, there is something more important to be undertaken so the class has to be sacrificed and when there is none of the cited reasons there is some examination scheduled.
The causality of all this is the regular classwork. By the way, by the introduction of semester system examination is all around the clock. Where does it all lead to?To a terrible truth and psychological apathy towards classwork among the students.
I should have withheld this terrible truth from public but for the pricks of conscience, I share my pain with readers. Only seventy eight days of regular classwork out from more than seven hundred days since my joining.
This is bizarre and a sad state of affairs. By all stretches of imagination, this is unacceptable and unbelievable but axe must not fall on me or any of my friends serving in any highest institute of learning. I’m honest in my confession. How bitter the truth might be, it is inalienable and incredulous!
Honestly, for this appalling and ugly revelation, there is a system to be blamed that has miserably failed in the execution of things on time. Whatever may be the compelling force for implementation of semester as well as chaotic choice based credit system it has virtually backfired given the turmoil we are in.
The onus falls on the university who has to decimate the syllabus time and again reschedule examination dates giving a death blow to the quality by compromising things in the priggish interest of the students otherwise the fair of pushing the bachelors’ degree to a duration of five years is unavoidable.
Painfully, despite consuming four years to complete the ongoing bachelors’ degree,one feels embarrassed and egg on face while counting seventy eight days of regular class work in the whole span of two years.
Interestingly, neither the teacher nor the student has any enthusiasm left in him because of fatigue factor. Rest, I have been in the college doing pretty things other than my business as a teacher.
Exasperated by this subversion and travesty, I felt an urge to share the pain of my loss of my classroom. A classroom where I could go and teach at ease without examination or some unlikely interruption hovering over my head like a sword of Damocles is a distant dream.
Abounding in gratitude, I complement the hike in my salary as well as my commitment to fight for injustice done to me by withdrawing the incentives for M.Phill and P.hd. I also suggest a quick remedy and my promotion in leaps and bounds, I’m sure of a lump sum salary and a quick leap.
Currently, more than seventy thousand a month that in a very short duration of time is likely to cross eighty thousand a month is my legitimate right. But I fail to locate my classroom. It is missing. It will be fatal if it doesn’t bother me at all. Currently, I have parted way with my students and vice versa.
Loaded with this pain I had fallen into a nap between the hours of emergency meet convened by our college NAAC steering committee just to revamp and regroup to cook the uncooked items as a run up and gear up to the peer team visit likely to be undertaken late this month.
As a hectic administrator, my principal broke my nap.‘Khan in slumber as usual. When you have no work you sleep deep.’
As a rule, I couldn’t object to what my worthy principal was hinting at. Practically, he had hit the nail on its head. But there was a difference between him and me. He was the administrator in-chief and I was a teacher in the beginning of my career. Therefore I couldn’t go beyond the utterance, yours faithfully.
As I adjusted to the light, overcoming the unbecoming sleep, I could look from the window of my smart classroom Wular Lake extending arms. Very shortly,it will flood the saplings of the farmers. The water and the crop are at kissing distance.
For a while, I thought it is her encroached land and in furry it will get it back. There I was getting the answer for all my probing contemplation. My space as a teacher being encroached.
Someday I will win my space and win the search for my classroom. Will you help me please? I’m waiting. Colleagues and dear students!
Author is an Assistant Professor,GDC Bandipora