Revive DUTA’s Fighting Tradition
Elect Amar Deo Sharma as DUTA President
On 25 August (Thursday, 10 am to 5 pm) we have to decide whether we want a DUTA that will be ready to confront the University administration and Government or one that remains inert and silent before the assault from these authorities. We have to choose between the committed politics of mass mobilisation and the corrupt politics of backroom deals with “achievements” that curiously appear only during elections. As we witness and feel the widespread anger generated against corruption and the anti-democratic crackdown by the Government to contain it, we must ask ourselves whether we wish to draw inspiration from this remarkable popular mobilisation or whether we will succumb to the lack of will to fight which has been the hallmark of the AAD-led DUTA.
What have we achieved with the AAD-led DUTA’s aversion for struggle?
- Except for a handful of interviews the appointment process has been stalled for almost a year by withholding the list of experts. The VC’s public statement that appointments would be frozen for three years in view of workload changes due to the semester system has gone without a protest from the DUTA.
- The provision in the UGC Regulations 2009 for counting total years of service for promotion at every stage, instead of the minimum years in each feeder grade, has been withdrawn in the revised UGC Regulations 2010. This will adversely affect all teachers with ad hoc service since this service will not be counted except for the first upward movement from AGP 6000 to AGP 7000.
- The provision of advance increments at entry for teachers with MPhil/PhD has never explicitly excluded ad hoc teachers even in past pay revisions. If today the longstanding demand of the DUTA to extend this benefit to ad hoc teachers has been realised, the DUTA leadership should have written to the University and all Principals to implement it and to Staff Associations to ensure compliance. Instead the AAD is surreptitiously circulating signature sheets among ad-hoc teachers as part of its election campaign.
- Even as the case filed by the DUTA on the semester system is on, the DUTA leadership has struck a deal to allow its introduction in all courses. This became evident in the last two AC meetings when their members, instead of dissenting, approved the adoption of courses and ratification of illegalities. With this approval, many ad hoc teachers have lost their jobs due to the imbalanced workload or face such losses in the coming semesters.
- The DUTA leadership has refused to conduct any struggle on the point system and other adverse service conditions despite requisitions of the DUTA Executive and repeated appeals to mobilise mass protests. The DUTA President was given a second term as FEDCUTA President with the expectation that he would organise such protests. His refusal has resulted in several Central Universities moving ahead with the implementation of the point system.
The AAD leadership has demonstrated its unwillingness to fight adverse changes in service conditions and academic structures. These changes are part of the Government policy of commercialising higher education, which requires downsizing of collective and individual rights of dissent and protest.
Defeat the politics of appeasing the authorities
The cynicism of the Government personified in Kapil Sibal has been exposed during the anti-corruption struggle. It is at his behest that the present Vice-Chancellor has outdone his predecessor in forcing through shoddy changes in academic programmes. The AAD-led DUTA values its backdoor contact with Mr. Sibal more than the need to challenge Government policy. It values keeping the VC in good humour more than the struggle against his anti-academic and anti-democratic actions.
Revive the DUTA – Vote DTF
The Need of the Hour
To successfully fight back, we must reverse the process of reducing the DUTA to a body that seeks small favours by appeasing the authorities. The DUTA is our collective instrument of struggle. The retreat of the DUTA leadership from its responsibility compelled individual teachers to come together as JAB. By wrongfully calling the JAB an outfit of a particular political group, the AAD seeks to divert attention from its own abdication of responsibility.
A DUTA committed to this struggle will have to reach out to students and the people at large, it will have to mobilise the media, popularise its arguments and launch mass actions. It must initiate and join with other unions and movements in larger collective actions. It is only through such multi-pronged efforts that we can hope to resist the Government’s policy assault on the university system and teachers’ service conditions. Our success in reaching out to students and other sections of society will also require earnest and systematic efforts to improve our own accountability.
A sustained struggle against Government policy is both required and possible. Many such struggles were successfully carried out in the past when the DTF was in the leadership of the DUTA. The present wave of popular protests against corruption also inspires us to intensify resistance to the policy assault.
This election will decide whether we can revive the fighting tradition of the DUTA. We appeal to teachers to participate in large numbers and vote decisively. Let us send a signal to the authorities that the teachers of Delhi University are ready to take them on.
Amar Deo Sharma
Dept of Hindi, Delhi College of Arts & Commerce
Ph: 9868173032, 9560826961
as DUTA President
Abha Dev Habib
Dept of Physics, Miranda House
Dept of Hindi, Moti Lal Nehru College
Dept of Political Science, Rajdhani College
Dept of English, SGTB Khalsa College
to the DUTA Executive