|Saturday, June 8, 2002||
WITH reference to your article, "Vultures and wolves in the classroom," by Anya Sharma I have a few questions. What provisions does the university rule-book have to safeguard the rights of those who are vulnerable in the classrooms? Has any university ever punished a teacher for mentally harassing or blackmailing a student or a colleague? Is there any rule to prevent a research scholar from using his/her extra academic resources to allure and pressurise the teachers in general and the research guides in particular? To my knowledge no such punishment has ever been meted out even though the authorities in the university are always aware of such situations.
I agree with you that teachers are more responsible for the situation. They should be brought to the book and punished. Otherwise it will be too late. Perhaps it is already too late.
I ask the authorities concerned that if it is a known fact that there are vultures and wolves in the classroom, then why are they not caught.
The article presents a shocking picture of our so-called temples of learning and teachers. Not all guides are immoral or exploitative, but many are. The exploited do not often lodge complaints because they are not sure that any action will be taken against the defaulters. And, when senior academicians, at times even some Vice-Chancellors, are involved, then to whom can they turn for redressal? It is also felt that the teaching community in most cases is under-worked and the standard of teaching and research is extremely poor. Some treat research scholars as domestic servants and exploit them, especially girls, in a number of ways.
Codes of conduct already exist everywhere. Virtues cannot be legislated, and it is not the system but individuals who are responsible for the sorry state of affairs. We should ensure that such things do not happen, and when reported, the guilty are promptly penalised.
The writer has aptly said that universities and teachers were once the disseminators of both knowledge and morals. But today this is no longer so. The teacher-student relationship has degenerated to its lowest ebb. Teachers today preach one set of values to their students but practise another. The teacher himself is no longer someone who instills values in his students. In ancient Indian system of education the teacher-student relationship was not a power equation as is the case today. The person with more power exploits the other. Teachers who have entered this profession for the wrong reasons cannot do justice to the dignity attached to the role of a teacher.
Bahadur Shah Zafar
In his write-up "Hazoor Sahib — a salute to the saviour" (April 27), Tejwant Singh has remarked that Guru Gobind Singh "helped Bahadur Shah Zafar ascend the throne of Delhi". This is not correct.
The Guru helped Muazzam, who crowned himself Emperor with the title of Bahadur Shah immediately after the death of his father, Aurangzeb. The decisive battle between Muazzam and his brother, Azam, for the Delhi throne took place near Jajau on June 18, 1707, where the latter was killed.
Bahadur Shah Zafar was the last Mughal monarch. After the political upheaval of 1857, the British conquerors of Delhi deported him to Rangoon, where he died as an exile in 1862.