Naseer A Ganai
How much a flower costs in Kashmir University? This strange question by a research scholar of the University left us baffled. “It costs around Rs 50,” he said. Then he explained the reasons. “The University over the years has employed large number of watch and ward staff, gardeners to look after vanishing University gardens that one gardener gets one plant to take care of. By that standard I think one flower costs Rs 50,” he said. I was surprised by the discovery.
Then he started talking about other discoveries. With few exceptions, he said, all Deans, Head of Departments, Professors, Associate professors have employed at least four of their relatives in the University. Some have even more. “But figure four is an average,” he said.
They also post their distant relatives in non-teaching positions like peons, orderlies, daily wagers, laboratory assistants, lab assistants and subsequently they work hard to move their files in the administration block to get them regularized.
Among students, according to the researcher, the teachers also make distinction. Like which student should be send to Germany or any other country on fellowship, and which student should be dropped. The criterion depends upon whether the student is relative of the concerned head of the department or not. If student is relative of the HoD, no other student has any chance. Everyone understands this.
Posts are advertised here to keep only one criterion in mind. That which of our relative can fulfill the criteria. For instance, a pass-out of the Home Science Department can become PRO and the pass-out of Mass Communication and journalism will not be even eligible for the post. And if an adhoc teacher files RTI asking why an ineligible candidate was preferred over him, the University has other principles for him. He is sacked that too without notice.
Here no Professor or Head of the Department retires. After retirement they all get position in the University. They either become member of dog committee, garden preservation committee, construction committee, deconstruction committee, car committee so on and so on.
In JNU one gets feel of being in the University. In KU one gets feel of being in car bazaar. Its campus gives feel of corporatization. After all the University has spent more than Rs 2.16 crore on purchase of vehicles, most of which were luxurious SUVs for use by officials. Among the 36 vehicles bought by the University is a bullet-proof car purchased for Rs 9.25 lakh. Bullet proof car for the University! Even in Kabul University I doubt someone has audacity to ask for bullet proof car. Don’t get surprised when soon KU will send requisition for Airbus to airlift teachers and non-teaching staff.
In KU faculty is concerned about research. It is not they are not concerned. They are most concerned. They are concerned about where they will adjust their sons and their daughters. And at later stage distant relatives too. And they do thorough research for it. And they do research which vehicle suits which head of the department, which doesn’t. They spent months together on the subject.
Don’t talk about non-teaching staff. They include registers, controllers, assistant registers, deputy controllers, assistants, senior assistants, clerks and above all contractors and spoons. Wherever you go in the campus you will see either a building is under construction or Chinar tree is being deconstructed. The credit for all this goes to non-teaching staff. The work of construction and reconstruction is continuous work here. Perhaps that is only work here.
Never argue with any employee in the University, warns the researcher. His relatives would come out from different departments and you will be lynched. I was amused by this definition of theory of relativity and acumen of the researcher. He really has an eye for research.
(Naseer A Ganai is a journalist based in Kashmir)