Introduction to 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.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

J&K Department of Education Under Scanner

Mudasir says that appointments by the Department of Education are unfair and unjust

(Mr. Jan Mudasir Gul, 29, was born in Srinagar. He went to the D.A.V. High School, Amira Kadal, Srinagar, and K.N.M. High Scholl in Barbar Shah, Srinagar. After completing her Bachelo's degree from Sri Pratap College, Srinagar, he completed his post graduate degree at the University of Kashmir. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. degree in English from the Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU), Hyderabad. Mr. Gul is presently a lecturer in English, and enjoys reading and writing in his leisure time.)

Department in Mess

It is said that paradise is a place of perfection. Then if Kashmir is called “Paradise on the Earth”, therefore, it should have been a place of perfection. But if there is any worse place than hell, it is Kashmir as it has become a symbol of corruption, degeneration and degradation. There is not a single walk of life here where a living soul can become satisfied. Even religion, which is purely divine, has become defiled in this ill fated valley.

Having said this, it seems that I have become incurably hopeless about Kashmir and rightly so because I am. As we know the first word of the Qur’an which was revealed to the Prophet (PBUH) was “Iqra” which means “to read”. And the various exegetes of the Qur’an have agreed upon that it actually refers to education, religious as well as worldly. It is this education and the areas related to it which have made me hopeless. The department of education is in mess is known to everybody and much has been already written or said about it. And what is of our concern here is the process of promotion and fresh appointments, particularly at 10+2 level.

The department has the procedure of promoting PG teachers or masters as incharge lecturers (40%) and 60% as fresh appointees through Public Service Commission. But what has been going on in the department for the last 20 years is not only shocking but also illegal as per the recruitment rules of the department. The rule clearly mentions that the department can promote 40% of lecturers from the department provided they possess the eligibility criterion, i.e. PG in the concerned subject (10+2+3). But the irony is that the dept has promoted candidates as incharge lecturers who possess PG in 10+2+2+2 pattern which is gross violation of the rule.

Besides, the certificates produced by them have not been verified from the concerned universities as it is alleged that some candidates possess fake certificates. It is the fault on the part of the dept that these in charge lecturers have not been confirmed since 1998. One cannot deny the fact that out of nearly 6,000 in charge lecturers till date who are unconfirmed, there are candidates who are genuine, and they therefore deserve to be confirmed at the earliest. But, what the dept has been doing is playing delay tactics; one to save their skin as they have illegally promoted certain candidates, second to save the money which is due to those in charge lecturers once they are confirmed.

Other injustices have been going on with those lecturers who have been appointed directly through Public Service Commission. These lecturers, though confirmed, have not been given benefits which are due to them. First of all, there is no study leave due to them to pursue higher degrees like M.Phil or PhD. Even they are not allowed to do it on part-time basis for which normally a scholar needs a leave of one or two months per year as residency period during his course of study. Secondly, there is nothing for those who enter the dept with M.Phil or PhD degree. Thirdly, there is no separate grade for them once they are promoted as Senior Lecturers, which unfortunately has been again pending since 1998. However, the gravest injustice to PSC confirmed lecturers is that they have been appointed after a gap of nearly 3-5 years from the date they had applied for the post.

For instance, I had applied in 2005 but I got appointed in 2008. But, on the other hand, the dept had already promoted 40% of candidates as in charge lecturers when they referred the posts to PSC, which might have been in 2004 or 2005. Thus, we deserve to be notionally at par retrospectively with those in charge lecturers who have been promoted at the time when our posts were referred to PSC.

To conclude, let the Dept of education fulfil the genuine demands of both in charge lecturers and PSC confirmed lecturers at the earliest, so that our education system may run smoothly, otherwise, the status quo has given birth to unionism as we daily see its reflection in the newspapers in the form of press releases.

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