by Shabeer Ahmad Khan
My story unfolds the pain and patience, suffering and longing and waiting of more than two years at the hands of self-indulgent academic eccentrics. Though I always wanted to tell my story, and many of my friends were suggesting me to do so, there was a reason holding it in abeyance till date. Had I not qualified JKSET 2018 (English, NET July 2018 as well) my story would have remained untold, for I would not have been able to prove that my claim for justice was genuine. Before coming to the main story, and bringing you out of the curiosity, I would want to make it clear that my intention is not to spoil anyone’s reputation, but that no other student should suffer like me unheard.
On May 22, 2016, JKSET Agency conducted its State Eligibility Test for Assistant Professorship, and as usual took almost six months to declare its results on November 16, 2016. I found myself missing the mark by one multiple choice question only, carrying two marks which I needed to get through. While I checked the papers I found that there were many questions which were wrongly answered (as Kashmir University is notorious for providing wrong answer keys without any consideration), however, I needed only one to qualify.
In paper 2 of English one of the questions was as follows:
Q9. The moan of doves in immemorial elms
And murmuring of innumerable bees
The above lines from Tennyson’s Come Down, O Maid are a perfect example of:
(A) Onomatopoeia (B) Paradox
(C) Alliteration (D) Oxymoron
The same couplet has been discussed by many authentic books like A Glossary of Literary Terms by M H Abram, Tenth Edition pp.264; The Oxford Companion to English Literature, edited by Margaret Drabble, Sixth Edition pp.743; Concise Oxford Companion to English Literature of English Literature and many others as a famous and skilful instance of Onomatopoeia under the entries of the same (Onomatopoeia). Hence option (A) Onomatopoeia is the correct answer which I have marked in the OMR.
The option (C) Alliteration, which the so-called expert has chosen as the answer, never makes any sense here and could not be cited by any book as well. In order to prove this, the story of my struggle, which I will try to be brief, begins.
During my endeavour and pursuit for justice I encountered many persons at multiple times: be it Prof GM Rather (former Coordinator JKSET), Prof Lily Want, Assistant Prof Mufti Mudasir, Prof Irshad Nawchoo, Prof Fayaz, Prof Ashraf Wani or Prof Suhaf. All of them except for the last were uninterested to help. But despite several attempts, he too failed to do anything before the miscreants who were around him as he alone can’t run an infected system of inefficiency with proficiency.
After the result was out and again finding myself disqualified I was perhaps smitten for the “efficiency” of the system. Next day I ran into the office of the Coordinator: as I entered, I saw a man sunk in his chair with heaps of dust-covered papers around; he wore a short beard perhaps oddly trimmed in haste with a line of moustache; leaning behind he was so immersed in the chair with his jacket collar up that for some time I could not make it whether there really was a man or only a jacket hung over the chair; his small neck was dipped in his shoulders. With desperation, I explained the matter to him and after much discussion, he responded in broken English, with a sheepish uncomfortable smile, ‘hehehe I’m not God that I can do justice to you; if injustice has been done to you I can do nothing now’. On the one hand, I was flabbergasted for seeing such an insensible man in the hot seat who was not well versed with his duties as a Coordinator; On the other, I took pity on him for invoking God to correct the blunder of his own system.
After going to him for several days he kept on reiterating the same rhetoric shamelessly “I cannot do justice to you; for I’m not God”. Even though Mufti Mudasir, the expert remarked, “after going through the evidence provided by the candidate I’m ready to rectify my earlier opinion,” it still did not make any difference to the incorrigibly oblivious man who again bleated in the same sheepish manner “hehe it is not that easy to do it again”. He had promised me earlier, “bring directions from the VC, and the question will be rectified”.
When the VC undoubtedly marked the application of the expert, hence directing to give consideration to the candidate, then why did not he abide by it? I was well aware of the fact that it was his so-called ego which was restraining him to act. Thereafter, the then dean of Academic Affairs Prof Ashraf Wani promised me, “if the university is declining your claim, you bring the directions from the court, and we will take the necessary action”. When I brought the directions from the court, I again received another declining letter, saying they can’t do it.
Encountering the expert was partly pleasant and partly unpleasant game. After knowing that the expertise had been given by the infamously erudite gentleman, Mufti Mudasir, Assistant Prof Department of English, I went to him. When he saw the evidence from the above-mentioned books, he could not but droop in agreement. He took me to Prof Lily Want, HOD English, who also affirmed that I was right. On her instructions, he took me to PRO VC (although she had advised him to acknowledge his error before the VC which he did not do) where he verbally accepted that he was wrong and later gave me an application in writing as well, in which he acknowledged his error and was ready to rectify it.
However, after the court directions, I sensed a change in his behaviour. I called him and he was not talking comfortably. He even told that he favoured me by accompanying me to the PRO. To my utmost shock, I was told that he pitied my condition by accepting his mistake. I had to remind him that he has given a written application where he has approved of his blunder. Shamelessly, he further said, that he had some evidence in favour of his earlier option, ‘alliteration’. I calmly gave him a challenge that if he would ever be able to prove that the answer was ‘alliteration’ I would surrender my certificates and should be penalized for wasting the time of university; my challenge is still extant to him and the university as well.
Receiving court directions was a big joy for me. It seemed now possible that I could get justice after a long struggle and huge monitory loss for someone else’s blunder. With directions in my hand I ran into the office of the coordinator only to find a new man in the chair namely Irshad Nawchu; his gruff voice was cacophonous to the ears; without looking into the directions he reprimanded me not to come again, but when I handed over the directions to him he was a bit silent; I already knew that he too was not going to do anything because he was a more incorrigible man and another vulture for the destruction of the garden to be set right. Above all he was a liar as I subsequently knew from other experiences with him.
On being asked once by Prof Hamida Nayeem on the phone that I was suffering like anything for the system’s fault he replied to her that I was misleading her. It is an irony that Hamida Nayeem could be misled, a lady who bangs national mainstream with her wit and wisdom. Anybody would be surprised to know that they have been misleading me for the last six months that they have sent for the experts. They have even declined the RTI to give any minutes of the meetings. They have also failed to locate the experts even.
Meeting Prof Suhaf, the Dean of Academic Affairs was a feeling of comfort after meeting so many of miscreants. After a month, when I again received the same declining letter against the court orders from JKSET that they can’t reopen the case, I approached the dean and found a different man in the chair. But here the process was reversed. He was a more humane personality. After examining the case, he stopped me to re-approach the court and assured me that he would help me to get justice. He along with the VC constituted a committee to look into the case. More than a year has passed since the committee was constituted it has held only two meetings that too without any substantial results.
After the first meeting was held Prof Lily told me that they could not decide over the case, fearing the university may land in trouble after reopening it (they had not paid any heed to the fact that I was already in trouble for their own fault and they also had no consciences to understand that if the university was landing in trouble it was not because of someone else’s fault but their own).
In the second meeting, which took them another six months, they reopened the case as per verbal orders of the members (Prof Fayaz among others) and sent for the experts. Yet again it was a lie because another six months had passed and the opinions of the experts had not come; declining the RTI twice to give any minutes of the meeting as I already mentioned above. Hence, during all this time the coordinator was cunningly successful in deceiving both me as well as the Dean about sending for the experts when actually no action had taken place in my favour.
The story of this struggle is neither a day’s job, nor is this the nightmarish story of a single night. It also did not happen within a month even or two; but to the readers’ surprise, it took me two long years visiting almost not less than fifty times to different men of authority to explain and re-explain my case, and it too is not a less difficult job to every time repeat your story and wait for the Indian summer of justice; and sometimes I would feel that I was not only waiting for Godot but also searching for him in vain with the false notion of his turning up someday.
They kept me in seriatim like the Invisible Man of Ralph Ellison’s novel, with their deliberate intentions of keeping the nigger running from door to door. I lost many opportunities during these two long years of my career that cannot come back. Neither can be the opportunities nor the struggle of pain and psychological trauma be compensated with anything in the world. The ego and the mutual ill-will of each of these so-called builders of the nation was every time shattering the walls of my spirit of pursuit of justice. I did not suffer a less monetary loss even too: from the court to the knocking of different deaf doors of the university it cost me more than Rs 50,000 which is an exceptionally huge sum for any student; for making the representation against the question alone I had to submit Rs 5000.
My story of injustice is not the only one. There are many others as well, done to many students by the university academics, that have never been told. Let me cut it short and conclude with this statement that Kashmir University in real is incompetence personified a barren and shrunken chested hag in Helen’s clothing.
(The author is pursuing PhD (English), Aligarh Muslim University. The views expressed are completely personal.)