Dear representatives of Delhi University Teacher Association, Executive Council and Academic Council,
With all respect and humility, we want to tell you that we have no reason to vote for any upcoming election in the university vis-à-vis country. Let us explain why.
We are working in the university as assistant professors on an ad-hoc basis for many years now. We have voted in every election of teachers’ trade union. We hoped to strengthen the teachers’ association so that it would be enabled to struggle to ensure the rights of the teachers in the university. Interestingly, every election has focused on regular/permanent appointments in the university and different constituent colleges. Through all these elections, I kept my hope alive.
However, there is no hope left anymore, as after every election, the most important agenda such as regular or permanent appointments becomes secondary issues in your struggle. The recent elections held for the executive council (highest decision making body) raised our hopes again.
The National Democratic Teachers Front (NDTF), a teacher’s party, also wrote in their leaflet that all the appointment must happen and would happen before July 31, 2017. Another party, Academic for Action and Development (AAD), was standing for regularization and absorption of all the ad-hoc teachers in their respective colleges or place of work. A third organisation, Democratic Teacher Front, had a similar agenda. The NDTF and AAD, were both going to be elected as members of the executive council by a massive mandate. Whenever the members called for any struggle, thousands of ad-hoc teachers marked their presence.
Unfortunately, the issues talked about during the election campaign were nowhere to be seen as we first had to struggle to save the university from the colleges seeking autonomy and privatization. Our hearts were broken and hopes died again. The same thing happened last summer when the issue of extraordinary workload given by University Grant Commission (UGC) was prioritized over our issue of regular appointments.
We fought with you against UGC and saved our workload. This summer we are struggling together, not to let the largest and one of the best universities of this country to be privatized. Every summer, we struggled together to save the university. Every time my mind questions which summer our lives would be saved.
Dear sir/madam, there are more than 6,000 teachers working across the university on the draconian ad-hoc provision for so many years. Some are in their age of retirement too. We see people in the departments and colleges having accepted this as their fate. Can you imagine that!
We are teachers, who have to change the fate of the students. How will we change their fate if we were unable to change ours? How fake do we sound, when we ask our students to work hard, get a good life, and attain stability. When we ask our students to go for higher education and become teachers in the university later on, we can see rejection in their eyes.
They know everything. They pity us. We do not motivate students, rather they motivate us. Sometime, they come forward and say that we should prepare for civil services. We get restless indeed. We know your limitations as our representatives.
Nevertheless, when the time comes, we will together rise and say why should we save a university that did not secure a reasonable life for the thousands who nourished it for years, with their blood and tears. We might sound cynical and negative, but this was not us.
We had high hopes, that motivated us to give so many years of our life to acquire higher education. When my friends were becoming bank probationary officers and getting into other services, I decided to go for higher education. Now they have a job, are married with children and we have nothing, not even hope.
However, when we see your face, we recognize the same negativity. We know you all are concerned, but our life is beyond that. Some suggest that we should leave and do something else. But we have given our most productive years to Delhi University
When we started working, we were young, now we are aged. We might sound idealistic, emotional, etc. but that is how a teacher needs to be. We should also be hopeful because this hopelessness affects not only our life, but the life of thousands of students as well.
We have voted and elected you, we have voted and elected the government. Now, it is your turn to justify our vote. It is up to you to change the gear of our lives. We are of riding our lives in the same gear for so long. We are unable to propagate the idea of change, as there is no change that we have seen for years and years. We know you don’t get enough sleep just like us. You might be aware, if it goes like this then your children will be as cynical as we are. Some might already be.
Dear representatives, saving us would be saving the university automatically. We are feeling neglected. Integrate us, ensure our dignity, and make us significant. If any government stops you to do that, fight it out. If you can’t do that then we might have no reason to vote for anything, be it you or the government.
Dr. Deepak Bhaskar