Job is for all, profession is for the fittest

This is in response to Dr Raja Muzaffar Bhat for the write up titled, College teachers with identity crisis

It is indeed a pleasure to write back to you on an issue of immense current interest, though in terms of disagreement and discord, but with due respect. The basic human composition is essentially the same. Hunger defines all of us. All people, literate and illiterate, average and intelligent, skilled and unskilled need to run the household. So, all of us need a job. It has to be ensured, it has to be guaranteed. The governments should plan for jobs and the people should equally plan for themselves. But what is a job? It is a money earning activity, a wage earning activity, to support one's family and to earn one's livelihood. A person can begin a job by becoming an employee, or by volunteering, or by starting a business. Job is only a subset of profession which has a much wider connotation. Job is for all, profession is for the fittest. While as job is done primarily for exchange of payment, the purpose of profession is to supply disinterested objective counsel and service to others, for a direct and definite compensation, wholly apart from expectations of monetary gain. As for instance if I intend to switch from a grade "A" gazetted service to grade "B", I can't claim a pay protection. This is because profession is neither a trade nor an industry. Although professions may enjoy relatively high status and public prestige, but all may not guarantee high salaries. Even within specific professions there exist significant inequalities of compensation. A corporate/insurance defence lawyer working on a billable-hour basis, may earn several times what a prosecutor or public defender earns.  Moreover, some professions may rise in status and power through various stages, but others may decline. For example, the disciplines formalized more recently, such as architecture, now have equally long periods of study associated with them. While pursuing a profession, we do numerous different jobs and that clearly distinguishes the two. In jobs, we do work but in professions it is much different. Moreover work is not always quantifiable. Manual labour is different and mental exercise is different. Being employable is different and having qualifications for an employment is different. The lecturers on academic arrangement have rendered intellectual services to the academic institutions in lieu of a contract. It is not a job to be discussed in terms of equal work and wages. Let us not misinterpret the things. Personally I hold high, the current and previous regime of lecturers on academic arrangement. They are highly literate people and can be undoubtedly valued as first class intellectuals. However, their intellect seems to shockingly melt away when they equate themselves with labourers and workers. Or else they are too witty to intend to gain the benefits of a labourer for the rank of a professional. And that is hellish. Professional bodies set examinations of competence and enforce adherence to an ethical code. A pile of degrees does not always suffice. A sense of competition together with updation with modern trends in professional market is far more important. All of us understand it but choose to deny out of our selfishness. Moreover a person who intends to make a career does not indulge in contracts and tries to secure his finances in some other way to spare time for preparations. The number of attempts for a competitive examination is limited to 4 or 6 which if all consumed leave no claim with the applicant to apply once more, even if he might be of a younger age. By the same argument there is no provision for regularisation in professional domain for having put in so and so many years of service. In jobs we may follow the policy of regularisation but in professions it is in itself a big question. Today we have many academic institutions across the country that are literally churning out Ph.Ds every year. Moreover, a Ph.D from an IIT is not the same as that from a churning machine.  Therefore, JKPSC is highly justified in resetting the yardsticks by diminishing the points for M.Phil/ PhD and raising the scope of competitive examinations from JRF to NET and far below to SET. In your write up you have provided an example of regularisation of school teachers. That is valid, since it comes under the category of job. But can you provide one such example in professional arena across all history. You won't be. However the issues that could have been genuinely raised are the following

1. End of Reservation under different categories for gazetted services. While as regularisation and reservation in job policies for marginal classes should be upheld to diminish socio-economic inconsistencies, the same tool may prove disastrous by appointing less meritorious to key positions where the collective interests of the society are at stake.

2. The research publications need to be weighed by the impact factor of the journal and the level of difficulty of the discipline. A research published in Nature cannot be treated at par with a local journal.

3. There is a need to formulate a calendar for advertisements every year, so that people are frequently appointed. The qualified bulk that has been left out today is primarily because of the delay in recruitment processes in J&K and the years long ban on employments.

4. The freedom of autonomous institutions especially Universities should be curtailed to ensure appointments of the most deserving. As an RTI activist do ask the government why UGC norms have not been followed in toto in J&K colleges as elsewhere in the country. Similarly why did the conducting agency for SET exam need to take out subsidiary lists after selection list. The transparency of different state level examinations in J&K has always been debated. Our memory is still fresh with MBBS scandal and what not. Even if fair, yet the state level examinations are far less contending than those conducted at a national level. Therefore JKPSC is again justified by assigning least points to SET examination. Similarly a local level KAS examination can never be equated to the national level IAS examination. The difference is obvious. A KAS officer towards his retirement reaches a position an IAS officers begins with a few years of initial service. Hierarchies need to be respected and merit needs to be honoured. There is a wise quote, "Man is not, by nature, deserving of all that he wants. When we think that we are automatically entitled to something that is when we start walking all over others to get it".

Dr. Qudsia Gani is Assistant Professor, Department of Physics, Cluster University Srinagar

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