PROFESSOR SABHARWAL is dead. Nay he has been killed by students whom he loved so dearly. It is not the murder of an individual. It is the murder of all virtues that the late professor stood for. It is an assault on the old Indian tradition of pupil-teacher relationship. It is an assault on the whole teaching community. And lastly it is the desecration of a great temple of knowledge.
It is a great pity that we are taking the matter so lightly and treating it like any other murder. It is a matter of shame that the murder took place in the presence of policemen, students and many other persons, and yet the main culprits are still at large. If efforts are being made to shield criminals belonging to one party or another, it is doom’s day for the country.
It appears that we have still not realised the gravity of the situation and merely ordering a magisterial inquiry and handing the case to the CID may not serve the purpose and real culprits may not be apprehended. It is a matter of national importance involving the killing of a professor by an unruly mob of students and other hooligans. The matter may be handed over to some other agency like the CBI in order to ward off local influence.
No doubt students of this country are, by and large, peaceful and respectful to their teachers and cannot go to the extent of inflicting fatal injuries on the person who is a father-figure to them. But by calling rowdy elements and criminals into the campus and giving them a free hand in winning the elections, they are equally responsible for this heinous crime.
I think the killing of a professor has still not touched the conscience of the whole nation. It has not even stirred the teaching community throughout the country. Major political parties have not condemned the issue in the strongest words as if the killing of a professor does not make big news for them. Let the whole nation rise in protest against this dastardly act of violence and compel Government to apprehend the culprits as early as possible.
It does not augur well for the nation if violence is tolerated or condoned. Our law makers must be feeling a sense of guilt when they fight, abuse each other and resort to acts of violence in the House, little realising that it will soon spill over to other institutions like schools and colleges. Criminalisation of politics has taken deep roots and unless all political parties do not take early steps to check this menace it may soon engulf the whole nation.
Some people have started thinking about the futility of elections in the educational institutions in the wake of serious acts of violence but I think in a democracy, elections in schools and colleges serve a useful purpose if conducted in a peaceful and orderly manner, for which we may have to rethink and modify rules governing the whole procedure. All political parties should sit together and prepare a code of conduct barring their followers from entering campus and interfering with the election procedure.
It is a great irony that a teacher has been brutally killed when the nation prepares to celebrate ‘Teachers Day’ on September 5. But do we deserve to celebrate the day this year when our hands are stained with blood? I think that greatest tribute to the memory of the late professor is to repent and feel sorry for the crime committed by some misguided youth of this country. Let us observe this day as a day of apology.
(The writer is a retired Joint Director of Public Instruction, MP government)