The coming Delhi University Teachers Association (DUTA) elections are going to be very crucial. Historically, DUTA had come into reckoning after it got the second promotion of readership for the college teachers in eighties after a long strike that continued for more than 80 days. This success also helped University teachers in getting promoted to the post of Professors on a large scale. Some ‘conservative educationists’ used to run these promoted Professors down by branding them as DUTA Professors.
But DUTA has been claiming its glory since then as they could successfully facilitate indiscriminating promotions on a large scale, realized by both the University and College teachers. DUTA became known in the entire country on posting this particular achievement. DUTA activists drew recognition when they ensured that promotions were not denied to almost anyone. Even today, DUTA draws its strength from this anecdotal success story. In the last more than two decades however, DUTA movement could not repeat even a fraction of such a success.
Although DUTA has no such success story since then, it did try to repeat its glorious performance during the struggles against semesterization that ended in failure and FYUPization (Four Year Undergraduate Program) that culminated in a delayed success but this success was far from being as impressive. DUTA’s activism continued in the last two decades but the successes more often than not, used to be on a limited scale. Recently, to save itself from becoming irrelevant, DUTA have indulged into some issues that rarely bothered teachers of DU on a large scale and were more political in nature and substance.
DUTA has also been playing around with priorities of issues for reasons driven more by politics than welfare of teachers. Hesitance in picking up the issues of continuing apathy of ad-hoc teachers and then against the insensitive attitude of Delhi Government in granting funds for salaries in their colleges has opened the eyes of the entire teaching community. When teachers were passing through the darkest phase of no promotions, no appointments and no salaries, DUTA kept itself increasingly engaged in other issues that demanded lesser attention than these. The size of such mistaken priorities grew in abundance especially since 2014. Intolerance towards the government that came at the center in 2014, never made DUTA believe in the UGC regulations 2018. DUTA kept on looking for only negatives of the document with a sense of disbelief and mistrust, although there were very few for their discomfort.
Come 2021, and the scenario changed for good this year. The success story of promotions witnessed by the teachers in the era of eighties has got repeated in 2021. In its earlier version, teachers got promoted to the post of Readers, and this time they got promoted to the posts of Associate Professors and Professors in a similar way. That DUTA is finding it difficult to claim this achievement, lies in the fact that they never let the teachers believe in the positive aspects of the UGC Regulations. NDTF (National Democratic Teachers Front), a right wing teachers organization, displayed exemplary confidence in the UGC Regulations 2018 and kept on projecting its unbelievable provisions as realizable when others claimed them to be unrealistic and unrealizable. This confidence of NDTF and its current presidential candidate Prof. A. K. Bhagi that led this dream come true has made them emerge as the real hero in this entire dream-like sequence that is running for almost a year now.
There may have been some failures, but the successes are so enormous that failures have been rendered as aberrations rather than rule. And this has changed the scenario. This has generated a lot of hope and positivity in the teaching community. With NDTF claiming to support ‘regularization’ of working adhoc teachers after running the success show on promotion story, their promises have ignited many hopes to realistic levels. Teachers seems to be in a clear mood to take a plunge, to give their hope a chance and thereby to reclaim the old glory of DUTA. Writing is on the wall and after more than two decades of absence, time is destined to give NDTF its well-deserved and well-earned chance to show its mettle and resolve in fulfilling their promises and hopes.