ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Teachers Strike A Dissenting View

Ashok Rudra THE pieces by Sumanta Banerjee (SB), Gurbir Singh (GS) (EPW, September 19) and Krishna Bharadwaj (KB) and Tanika Sarkar (TS) and others (EPW, October 17-24) about the teachers' strike have made me decide to take up my pen and to explain my own stand which has been that of total opposition to that 'historic' strike. It was indeed an historicevent, a record not only in the matter of duration but also in the matter of the total unity and almost hundred per .cent participation. SB does not hesitate to recall in this connection the 26-day railway strike of 1974. The teachers' strike, which exceeded that length by four days, is thus a repetition of another historic event. But, as Marx said, when history repeats itself, the second instance is usually in the nature of a farce. The railway strike was also a failure Why and how? The full force of the state's passive apparatus was unleashed to break the strike. The police beat up strikers, arrested their leaders, raped their women and set fire to their houses. Compared to that the kid-glove treatment meted out to the teachers should raise doubts as to the stakes involved. The 2,70,000 teachers enjoyed a holiday, bridging the gap between the summer vacation and the October vacation, with no repression of any kind to face. The strike collapsed on its own just about the salary day at the beginning of September, as might easily have been predicted.

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