Justice Aruna Suresh of the Delhi High court spoke the minds of thousands of parents in New Delhi when she ticked off the teachers of Delhi University for their prolonged agitation against the implementation of the semester system. Justice Suresh admonished the teacher’s union and said that they had no right to “play with the life and careers of the students” over an internal matter which needed to be resolved with urgency.
Any parent with a child over the age of seventeen in the capital will inform you about college admissions in DU being the most taxing exercise in operations research with parameters such as marks, extracurricular achievements, sporting abilities and “jugaad” competing for the few seats available in these citadels of excellence. The school student transitions to college with a feeling of exhilaration and achievement. They are used to a certain discipline in school and most of them want to adhere to the same in college. Classes usually begin at 8.45 am in most colleges and the students leave their homes as early as 7 am to take local transport to the university only to twiddle their fingers since the teachers are abstaining from class due to the agitation.
I recall my days at Presidency College Kolkata which at that time was the hub of student politics in the leftist state. Our student’s federation of India union would call for a strike at the drop of a hat to protest for things that did not affect our life. In the initial period we were glad to comply and drink tea and do “adda” in the canteen. Within a month, both the conversation and tea started to lose its charm and so we informed the union leaders that we would attend class when we pleased and could not be dictated. Things came to a head when the union closed our college gates and refused to let us enter. A major altercation ensued and we decided to climb over the gate to attend class. A fiery lady in the union lay down in front of the gate and said we would have to step over her to enter the college. A young lad from my class was glad to comply as he stepped over the shocked prostrate woman, climbed over the gate which he then opened to let in the crowd.
That year, an independent party with no political affiliation was formed in Presidency college to contest elections which won by an overwhelming majority. The Student Federation chiefs were ticked off by the Politburo and told to get their act together. The Independent party wasn’t as interested in student politics as much as they were keen to teach the union a lesson and lost the election in the subsequent year. However it created a major buzz in the city and our college attracted a whole bunch of attractive fashionable juniors who until then thought of our establishment as erudite and boring.
I sincerely hope that the teachers will get back to the classrooms for I am sure the "chole baturas" and "tandoori chicken momos" of Kamala Nagar Market will very soon lose their charm. Let’s not complain of our kids losing focus in their life if our generation sets such an example.