a ViewPoint by SANTOSH SUBBA on the teachers transfer row
A recent order for transfers of teachers has given rise to an unwarranted protest by some teachers in the garb of Sikkim Teachers Association or STA. They seem to have misunderstood the words “service” and “servant”. They are to render their service to the people irrespective of whether they are comfortable with the time and place where they are to render their service. Freedom for choice of place of work is available only in business and in entrepreneurship and for this, they must stop being a government servant and start a business, for, so long as they are government servants, they have to abide by all the rules laid down for government servants, transfer being one. The salary that they draw from the public exchequer every month is not for their comfort but for the service they have to render to the people.The kind of ruckus and fuss that some teachers have been trying to create on the transfer issue appear quite preposterous and absurd. Does not this protest, using STA as a weapon, try to foist the will of the government servants to work in the place of their choice and comfort against the need and requirement of the people? Does not the threat by some teachers of submitting their voter cards to the election commission violate the clause (iii) of Section 8 of Sikkim Government Servants Conduct Rules, 1981? It is a kind of coercion that they are trying to employ here. The million dollar question is, have these teachers been transferred to Kanyakumari or Ladakh? If we draw comparison with the defence services, this transfer of teachers does not amount to transfer at all! Wherever they are transferred within Sikkim, they are at home!
The transfer of teachers has been given a political colour by some political parties which always try to gain a political mileage out of everything, but how could teachers be so gullible and not see through it that STA is being made a scapegoat? Their protest goes very right against the state service rules, unless they have very sound reason as to convince all concerned how their protest against the action of the administration stands genuine and valid. The perfect timing for transfers, with a view of not hampering the classes as well as balancing the under staffed schools is a welcome decision by the government and has been welcomed by the people. Social media is replete with posts and comments appreciating this decision of the government and appealing teachers to stop protesting. Some have even posted that if some teachers are so much against this transfer, why don't they just resign and make way for qualified educated unemployed youth of the state who are ready to serve in any part of the state.
I urge the teachers to stop acting at the behest of some political parties which have their own axe to grind. The transfer is an opportunity for teachers to spread their knowledge and inspire students of the places they are transferred to. They should be happy at the transfer if they consider themselves teachers in true essence. They have to keep moving and keep spreading knowledge and inspiring students, but on the contrary, they love to stay permanently in one place of their choice. They seem to have forgotten why, in our history and mythology, Gurus used to wander and travel a lot. Gautama Buddha, Guru Nanak etc. to name a few, kept wandering and travelling a lot with an aim to spread knowledge and inspire people. I am sure the teachers will eventually realize this and come around to the public demand.
[Received over email. The writer is a resident of Melli Dara, South Sikkim.]