Punjab fails to give lecture grade to Sanskrit teachers | punjab$patiala | Hindustan Times
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Punjab fails to give lecture grade to Sanskrit teachers

Despite the Supreme Court’s order to give lecturer grade to the Sankrit teachers holding acharyas and shastris ((degrees in Sanskrit literature), the Punjab education department has failed to act on the apex court order, even after six months of the judgement.

punjab Updated: Mar 07, 2016 21:46 IST
Mohit Singla

Despite the Supreme Court’s order to give lecturer grade to the Sankrit teachers holding acharyas and shastris ((degrees in Sanskrit literature), the Punjab education department has failed to act on the apex court order, even after six months of the judgement.

On September 1, 2015, the bench comprising justice MY Iqbal and C Nagappan had put the teachers of the Sanskrit colleges on par the with the lecturers and hence the right to receive the pending salary as per the grade.

Nigam Saroop Shastri, a teacher who had fought this battle for 28 years to get justice for Sanskirt teachers, says he would file the contempt of the court case.

Nigam, who was associated with the Nabha Sanskrit College -- established in 1890 by the grant received from Maharaja Hira Singh -- is also aggrieved by the fact that the government had failed to protect the heritage college from going into oblivion due to ambiguous reasons.

The heritage college, set up at old heritage Quila as a private Sanskrit school, was taken over by PEPSU government in 1955 and further upgraded to college level in 1972 with the efforts of president awardee late Sadhu Ram Shastri. Thereafter, the college was shifted under ambiguous reasons to the building named “Ashiyana (custodian department’s property)”, a place near the new bus stand. But this land was ‘falsely’ turned into a private property in papers and the government was charged with the rent for the college. However, later in an inquiry appealed by Nigam Saroop, the deputy commissioner’s office cancelled the ‘intkaal’.

In 1980s, the state government came up with the notification to merge the Sanskrit college with the Punjab Institution for Oriental and Indian languages (then a government institute of classical and modern Indian languages) in Patiala.

Meanwhile, the acharyas and shastris (degrees in Sanskrit literature) at the government Sanskrit institutions of Patiala and Nabha, who were being transferred to schools in 1980s, filed a petition, demanding to be considered equivalent to the college teachers. Another petition was filed against the merger notice in 1992.

Meanwhile, the teachers were shifted to the institutes of Patiala, but Nigam Saroop refused to join and kept pursuing the case of the Nabha College. But the college was demolished under the political influence even though there was stay orders on the issue, with the excuse of development and re-establishment. The then health minister Laxmi Kanta Chawla had raised the issue in Vidhan Sabha session in 2003, to which the then higher education minister Mohan Lal had answered equivocally.

However, the state won the case in high court in 2011. Aggrieved with the non-cooperation from colleagues and refusal from the lawyers to fight his case, Nigam debated over the review case in the high court. “I was mocked that I am the only grief-struck teacher whereas no one else had any issue. But justice Ak Sikri lauded saying only one person is enough to stand against injustice,” said Nigam.

Amidst financial issues, Nigam took the case to the Supreme Court, which provided the lecturer cadre to acharyas and shastris. “However, Nabha and Indian culture lost the college, which could have been upgraded to a university level today, highlighting the lackadaisical approach of the government towards the uplift of the heritage language. The teachers are still struggling to receive the benefit of the Supreme Court judgement,” said Nigam.