Introduction to KashmirForum.org Blog

I launched the website and the Blog after having spoken to government officials, political analysts and security experts specializing in South Asian affairs from three continents. The feedback was uniformly consistent. The bottom line is that when Kashmiris are suffering and the world has its own set of priorities, we need to find ways to help each other. We must be realistic, go beyond polemics and demagoguery, and propose innovative ideas that will bring peace, justice and prosperity in all of Jammu and Kashmir.

The author had two reasons to create this blog. First, it was to address the question that was being asked repeatedly, especially, by journalists and other observers in the U.S., U.K., and Canada, inquiring whether the Kashmiri society was concerned about social, cultural and environmental challenges in the valley given that only political upheaval and violence were reported or highlighted by media.

Second, the author has covered the entire spectrum of societal issues and challenges facing Kashmiri people over an 8-year period with the exception of politics given that politics gets all the exposure at the expense of REAL CHALLENGES that will likely result in irreversible degradation in the quality of life and the standard of living for future generations of Kashmiris to come.

The author stopped adding additional material to the Blog once it was felt that most, if not all, concerns, challenges and issues facing the Kashmiri society are cataloged in the Blog. There are over 1900 entries in the Blog and most commentaries include short biographical sketches of authors to bring readers close to the essence of Kashmir. Unfortunately, the 8-year assessment also indicates that neither Kashmiri civil society, nor intellectuals or political leadership have any inclination or enthusiasm in pursuing issues that do not coincide with their vested political agendas. What it means for the future of Kashmiri children and their children is unfathomable. But the evidence is all laid out.

This Blog is a reality check on Kashmir. It is a historical record of how Kashmir lost its way.

Vijay Sazawal, Ph.D.
www.kashmirforum.org

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Feudal System is Alive and Well in Academic Institutions

Mudasir argues that better education requires meritorious teachers rather than a dual track approach where contract teachers are treated by regular staff with disdain and suggests a new recruitment system that does not breed corruption and nepotism

(Mr. Mudasir Wani, 30, was born in Srinagar. He graduated with a Bachelo's Degree in Business from the University of Kashmir and is currently pusuing Master's Degree (M. Phil.) in Economics. In his leisure time he looks to watch various business channels presenting global economy and market news.)

The systemic rot

It is really a great moment and a feeling of bliss to find a young and dynamic personality holding the reins of power. But it also makes expectations go high. So the new incumbent has the burden of expectation on his shoulders and he will prove himself only when he carry the burden with responsibility and ability. People of J&K have lots of expectations pinned on the young CM, especially the educated youth. His every step will be keenly watched and his behaviour will be always under a scanner. The young CM will need lots of courage and intelligence to see himself through as he is surrounded by such persons who don’t want him to be like the way he wants to be.

Among many problems that the state is facing, the condition of lecturers and teachers appointed on contractual basis is one. One would like this area to be attended with a sense of urgency. Our education and recruitment system which has become the basic cause for ruining the career of our youth and make them follow wrong ways must be corrected.

Our education system has a vital role to play in the development of the state but unfortunately it is in a pathetic condition. Lack of quality teaching staff and up to date infrastructure has harmed the prospect of this department. But all this apart it is very sad to find senior teachers taking their jobs casually and doing things listlessly in their classes. Hats off to contractual teachers and teaching assistants for their contribution, enthusiasm, dedication towards their work, in spite of the fact they get a meager amount as salary and are treated as second grade citizens inside the campus.

It is painfully ironical that where seniors should have been doing the majority of work contractuals are made to work like beasts of burden. It is indeed lamentable that they are being treated as labors. You will find them in the beginning of the session just like beggars asking for their new appointment orders. This is the condition of those who are nourishing the future of this nation by imparting education to our future generation who will command the nation in the times to come.

It is a clich├ęd though that teachers play key role in building a nation, but it stands true even today. And when these architects of future are reduced to such pathetic conditions what can be the future of this nation! It is no difficult to make a guess. There is always a fear in their mind about their job; they can be thrown out of the job anytime. What is needed here is to end this uncertainty and make them feel more comfortable so that they give their best to the students. One may hope that now things might change.

Similar is the case with our recruitment system. I will not put finger towards any particular person but our requirement boards are full of corruption. Some members of various recruitment boards are working like dons, having their agents to collect money from innocent people with a promise that they will get a job. It is here that the seeds of corruption are sown. Those who are selected want to get this money back in the same manner. This way roots of corruption lie in our selection process.

Unless the roots are not expunged the goal of good governance and corruption free system is not going to be achieved. Corruption has entered into the blood stream of our system. If the top brass is corrupt what can be expected from those on the lower rungs. It is an alarming situation and if it remained unchecked the time is no far away when our educated youth will indulge in activities that will lead our state towards disaster.

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