After much campaign from agitated individuals and a certain bout of pressure, the AMU Teachers’ Association (AMUTA) was made to break its reluctance, and then they were persuaded to call a General Body Meeting (GBM), on 3 Sept’08 at 2.30 p.m., to discuss the enormous human tragedy of Bihar flood caused by: (a) the criminal neglect of flood control measures by the successive provincial governments of Bihar, and (b) absolute exploitation of Bihar at the hands of the Union governments of Independent India, not to say of the colonial Raj. [The regional and national bourgeoisie has reduced Bihar to India’s internal colony]
But this GBM could not discuss the issue, because not enough number (there were only 11 in all out of around 2500 teachers, whose salaries are paid on national subsidy, of them more than 200 are from Bihar including few from the flood affected districts of eastern Bihar) of teachers turned up, resulting into absence of the quorum, the mandatory technical requirement. Almost none of the members of the executive of the AMUTA, none of the former and present members (teachers’ constituency) of the Executive Council (EC) of AMU, none of the “leaders” (pursuing academics/politics in/with various names/symbols including the identities/ideologies like Biharis, Muslims/Islam, Left Progressivism, Federalism, Social Justice, Minority Rights, Human Rights etc etc) came to attend the meeting. It raises several questions about the leadership of the teaching community in AMU. Does not it reveal that all these “leaders” are absolutely insensitive to human tragedies, for whom probably the Sixth Pay Report is a bigger priority than the enormous human sufferings.
They consciously chose not to sensitize and mobilize the campus on the issue of such a great human crises. Too many leaders speak in verbose Urdu and English at the Teaching Staff Club of AMU in several meetings on ‘trivial’ issues of the campus, all these preferred not to attend this meeting. Did they need an Iftaar Party to discuss the human tragedy? Let it be added that with offers of too many helps from too many corners, rather than money, the bigger problem is proper, honest and transparent distribution of the relief packages. The greater requirement is pressure of civil society on the provincial and union governments/ bureaucracy to rescue the ravaged/besieged people; to mount pressure on the governments to do the needful for permanent solution of the recurrent flood problems. Of course, one day salary of the AMU teachers, consisting of few lakhs of rupees are just nothing for the sufferers, and by now, money is a lesser problem, thanks to generous donations from the states/private sectors and individuals. The greater requirement is pressure of civil society, a gesture of humanism… The “leaders” of the AMU teachers callously refused to demonstrate even that symbolic gesture. Is it the culture (tehzeeb wa tamaddun) of Aligarians, they are/were so proud of. I need not add that a large number of universities of India have not only contributed their one day salaries but they have also sent their students (particularly of Social Work, Journalism, Medical science etc) to undertake and monitor the relief works. And they did it much earlier than the “historic”, muhazzab AMU. Biggest majority of the victims happen to be from weaker sections of the society consisting of Muslims, Dalits and backward castes. If at all a section of the AMU thinks parochially, and in terms of Minority, then this tragedy put greater responsibility on AMU. But the conscience of even this section (if any) did not prick. They assemble with fervour when there is a meeting to oppose or broker with the AMU administration.
lab par hai talkhi-e- mai-aiyaam warna Faiz,
ham talkhi-e-kalaam pe maael zara na they
All these “leaders” were conspicuous by their absence, ignoring the great human suffering, they were having sweat dreams in siesta. Higher education in India is subsidized by the nation. In its exchange, the AMU teachers refused to part their salaries of one single day, for the sufferers of the man-made national calamity in Bihar. [With this subsidy, even illegally recruited/promoted persons are also paid lucrative salaries, who are protected, probably by a section of these very “leaders”, with utmost vehemence, even after a judicial report indicts them quite categorically. Can it be deduced from this callousness that like other exploitative elites, even the AMU’s teacher-leaders are also party to the historical national conspiracy of keeping Bihar as India’s internal colony to supply cheap labour, rickshaw pullers and domestic helps???
The history will reserve its verdict for this kind of callousness/apathy on the part of the “leaders” of the AMU teaching community. Quite certainly, it will read GUILTY for them. It’s not too late; this verdict can probably still be revised favourably. With this hope I have to say this:
Ek tarz e taghaaful hai so who unko mubarak,
ek arz-e- tamanna hai so ham kartey rahengey (Faiz)