Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Great Dharna

Day: Tuesday, Monday, Saturday, Sunday… how does it matter?
Date: 27/04/10, 27/04/09, 27/04/08, 27/04/11…who cares?
Venue: Town Hall, Jantar Mantar, Ramlila ground, roads, gutters…where?

Aims: Usual… delay in payment of arrears, conformation of employees working on contractual basis, issue of medical cards as there’s no med allowance given anymore etc, etc etc…

Crowd: teachers half willingly loaded in teacher’s association buses and left to flock around. Many thought it would be a good opportunity to shop at Chandni Chowk, C.P, ITO, Daryaganj etc etc… others came to ensure a leave from the principal and many came to strengthen their contacts for future use in the intra-institutional political career.

Interesting crowd. Part bored, part tired, part discussed the census duties hanging like an albatross around their necks and part enjoying the disruption of the abnormally normal life at the moonlight square (Chandni Chowk). People took a day out to make their presence felt.


It is an extremely important feeling. People forget, who they are, while they run around to ensure their daily bread and butter. People forget, who others are, in their daily struggle to move ahead faster with every step, quicker with each turn.

But, did it really happen? Who knows about it? How many people with considerable intellect sitting high in their ‘Ivory Towers’ know about it? And even if they do, how many care about it? Hardly any. Do people who came together for that sultry day out, do they care about it? Hardly. We all know we can call a dharna, disrupt a normal life which might not be so ‘normal’ after all and feel we have achieved a world of difference but in reality it doesn’t make any difference to anybody. It is simply passed of as another social gathering and then people forget about it till the next election campaigns.

Teaching is passed of as a profession that ensures easy money and involves no teaching. The statement is partly true and partly false; read the latest draft of ‘Right to education Bill’. Most of us know it to be true while most of us would also like to disagree with me. Each to her/his own. I am not forcing my opinion on anybody. The paradox is that a teacher need not know how to teach but follow the institutional ethos of the work place to ensure a good future if it may be called a future. The truth is education in an educational institute seems to be the last thing on the minds of the people who are part of that institution.

Well, but let us not get sentimental here. Let us, like honest historians be aware of the all the anomalies and I must only provide hard hitting facts. The speeches delivered were well written and quite eloquent. People literally had tears in their eyes…(did you say crocodile? Please.)The traffic went on smoothly after a couple of hours. People met and congratulated each other on being ‘present’ in the sultry hot weather. Contacts were shared, comments made on apparels. Jewelry discussed. Comments made on the complete uselessness of such gatherings and the work was done. The metro saw an unexpected rush of shoppers/fellow demonstrators. It must be noted by anyone who is planning to organize such event that the choice of venue is extremely important and if it is a market place it becomes an added attraction.

Though the persistent indifference on the part of a lot of people made it quite ineffectual, the evening must have witnessed a host of fellow organizers huddling up together to pat each other’s back on the success of an extremely grand campaign. The funds will come when they come, the appointments made whenever they would be and people will certainly take care of their health for their own sakes but who doesn’t like to wash their hands in running water. We all do, certainly, like I have, by writing about it.