Good-byes are the hardest; even harder with our professors. But what do we do when we find ourselves amidst the ad-hoc crisis?

What does college life mean to us? Does it mean romanticizing the red-brick walls? Or does it mean romanticizing the kurta– tote bag- chai inner core? Whatever it means, it surely stands for something unique for each of us. However, amidst the beauty of this chaos, lies a hard feeling of being lost, a feeling that could only be felt as words fall short to describe it. But how did we land up to this position? Is it because of the cute little fights over lunch breaks or are those never-ending assignments to be blamed? To be fair here, I feel these are the memories we take along with us and the reason to feel lost has another story behind it.

When we transition from school to college, we bring along a bag full of expectations. Apart from to-be-realized life-long friendships, we do expect to find mentors and guides who would not just be limited to the pale-yellow walled classroom but would bring solace when life happens to us. However, what happens if the “academic universe” decides to take them away from you? What happens when you find yourself alone again? What happens when you get the guidance you yearned for only to realize it to exist for a short-run? This is what it feels when we encounter the issue of ad-hoc displacement.

Currently, the Delhi University (DU) is underway with hirings for permanent positions. According to a report by Indian Express, as of April 2023, 4500-5000 permanent positions were to be filled and by then 100-150 ad-hoc teachers were already displaced in the process. The interview process for filling of the permanent posts began in the later half of 2022.

To give you a jest of how these applications are processed; the interviews are taken by a selection committee. Under the University Grants Commission (UGC) Regulations, this committee comprises of the principal of the college; the chairperson of the college’s governing body, or their nominee; the head of the department in charge of the subject; two V-C nominees; two external subject matter experts; and, in the event that any other members of the selection committee do not fall into one of these categories, an academician representing the SC, ST, OBC, minority communities, women, or differently abled categories.

If we go by the text-book, everything looks clean. However, I find myself incapable of judging whether things are fair or not. Due to this paucity, I will only be presenting you all with facts and figures and perhaps the questions that loom in every corner of my mind.

Recently, the sociology department of Indraprastha College for Women (IPCW) went through a whirlpool when five ad-hoc professors of the department, who were teaching at the college since years, all of a sudden found themselves out of job as the list with (new) permanent teachers was released. In a similar fashion, a (former) ad-hoc teacher, Pankaj Sarma of Kirori Mal College, suddenly found himself jobless, though he gave his ten years to the institution.

Similarly, late Samarveer of Hindu College, died by suicide as told by his family member due to his sudden removal from his job. Samarveer was an ad-hoc professor in the Philosophy department of the college. You name a college and this is the same story spinning everywhere.

To pin point here, if you get a sudden news that your professor resigned, it could either be that they finally understood what is about to unfold and voluntarily resigned or they met their fates of getting displaced. As sad as this reality would sound, this is what has been happening in the institution that is supposed to nurture the next-generation leaders, changemakers, and thinkers.

Even though I try to reel out of the pain of losing a mentor who not just guided me through the dreadful semester exams but showed me what I am capable of, what more I can achieve, and how much more power is to be realized as we move ahead in our lives, I stand dejected to know that my guiding light may have lost their shine. Though I know they are better-off and a place like this may not deserve them but I also know how blessed the students were to have a person like them in their lives. No words could give anyone a “job-security,” especially for a job they love. But as I come to the end, I could only hope to meet them again, perhaps while discussing our next adventure together.

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Featured Image Credits: The Quint

Ankita Baidya

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On Monday, April 10, the teachers and various teacher organisations of Delhi University staged a protest during an Executive Council meeting, demanding the absorption of ad-hoc and temporary teachers along with the formation of governing bodies in Delhi government-funded DU colleges.

The members of the Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) protested outside the vice chancellor’s office while the Executive Council meeting was underway. They were joined by the teachers’ wing of the Aam Adami Party, the Academics for Action and Development Delhi Teachers’ Association (AADTA). The demonstration included two members of the Executive Council itself, Seema Das and Rajpal Singh Pawar, who are also associated with AADTA. The primary issue raised was that of the displacement of ad-hoc teachers, leading to dire financial conditions and job insecurity.

 “The ousting of long-serving teachers is inhumane and promotes social insecurity in the working of the ad-hoc teaching community, which is not in the interest of the academic environment, teachers, and the community.”

                                            —AK Bhagi, Delhi University Teachers’ Association President

They demanded the absorption of displaced teachers and additionally called for the formation of governing bodies in colleges funded by the Delhi government, claiming that the “arbitrary displacements” had been a result of the absence of governing bodies.

“DU has been reneging on its promise of no displacement and warned that this is leading to the harassment of thousands of ad-hoc and temporary teachers working in the colleges of the University.”

                         —Seema Das, Executive Council Member and Member of AADTA

Displacement of ad-hoc teachers has been a pressing issue in the varsity, as data gathered by some University teachers suggests that nearly 76% of ad-hoc teachers have been displaced. Of the 615 ad-hoc teachers who were interviewed for permanent positions in various colleges, it is estimated that nearly 465 have been displaced as of April 8. Many of them have been teaching for several years, some even decades and nearing retirement.

“You cannot displace them in just two minutes. What will happen to them? Where will they go? Many of these teachers are above 40 and some are even nearing retirement. They provided their services despite knowing that they were not going to receive any facilities that the permanent staff do. We have been abandoned by the University and left in a lurch.”

                   — An anonymous ad-hoc teacher who was displaced recently

Some teachers alleged lack of transparency in the interview process, saying that they were not selected despite having experience and academic publications.

Featured Image Credits: DU Beat Archives

Read also: Chronological Account of the DUTA Ad-Hoc Crisis

Sanika Singh
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What happens to the movements that stand against the violence perpetrated at the lesser privileged? Read on to find out the glory and the grit.

Today, we celebrate non-violence, we recognise it as the only effective means to counter violence. We exist very proudly as citizens of a nation whose independence was made possible through non-violence. Whether Gandhi would be happy with the palpable threat of violence in every city of every state is debatable, but we will somehow ironically still continue to bask in our non-violent glory. Let us face it – we are obsessed with reminding the world, “Hey, we may be using violence to illegally occupy parts of our country, but remember how we got the British to leave?” It is true that India was the birthplace of large scale non-violent resistance movements that should fill us with pride. But it has been 72 years since Independence and yet, every year on this day, our imagination and knowledge of non-violence does not stretch further than Gandhi, and the Independence Movement.

Post-Independence, we have seen incredibly inspiring and resilient non-violent movements aimed at guaranteeing human rights and protection to everyone. These, too, are a part of our history, and if we are embracing non-violence we have to mobilise against violence as well. It is surprising then, to note that none of these movements has received the support or recognition from a nation that prides itself for non-violence. All hope is not dead and there is one non-violent movement, partially ongoing, that we should be very proud about. Yes, you guessed right. It is the 35-year-old Narmada Bachao Andolan. Even though it did not achieve what it set out to do, the Movement challenged the very core of our developmental model. It recently made the front pages again, on the 69th birthday of our Prime Minister. To celebrate, the Gujarat Government raised the level of water to 139 metres. In 2010, when the Supreme Court allowed work on the dam to continue, it warned the Government that the dam’s height should remain below 90 metres. At this height, according to India Today, the backwater has partially or fully flooded 192 villages in Barwani, Dhar, Alirajpur, and Khargone districts, along with one township in Madhya Pradesh. The Narmada Bachao Andolan was a movement unlike any other – it was all-encompassing.

It was brave enough to ask the most difficult question – is violence against the poor, not violent enough? And it turns out, violence against the poor and marginalised is not violent enough. It would be violence if the dam construction was not allowed and, as a result, Coca Cola lost 30 million litres of water daily. Could you imagine the outcry? Coca Cola not getting water would be the gravest of injustices! Words would be flung around about our economy coming to a halt. What about our humanity coming to a halt? 32,000 of the 40,000 displaced families are yet to be rehabilitated. The three state governments involved (Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, and Maharashtra) filed false reports with the Supreme Court, claiming that all the required rehabilitation had been achieved. The fund for this rehabilitation had been spent and we now know that an amount of INR 1,500 crores was scammed in the process.

The people that lost their land for Sardar Sarovar were not “normal” people. They were people already living in the fringes and, surprisingly enough, that was enough for them. They were not making demands; they were just living their lives until they were asked to give up those lives for the greater good of the nation. The worst outcome of violence is death, but this is beyond death because it makes life frightening. So, this year when we think about celebrating and recognising nonviolence, we should give equal thought to how much violence we are condoning in the country by not questioning it. We should celebrate the Narmada Bachao Andolan for educating us that this, too, is violence.

Feature Image Credits: The Week

Pragati Thapa

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