"There's no one to teach, so what's the salary for?" — a college professor in Bihar gave this simple logic as he lost heart over students never showing up for classes. He has returned his salary of two years and nine months — Rs 23.8 lakh — though the authorities have not yet accepted the protest payback, nor do they buy his logic upfront.
Lallan Kumar, assistant professor of Hindi at Nitishwar College in Muzaffarpur, says he fears "academic death" unless shifted to a different college by the affiliating university.
He shared a festering grouse too: "When I'd joined, I was not posted to a college where I could teach postgraduate classes. Those with lower ranks (in the selection process) got those postings. Here, the students never show up." He alleged that his name was "cut" from the transfer list several times.
"I will start a sit-in protest if my demand isn't met," he told NDTV.
The college principal, Manoj Kumar, claimed the contention of zero-attendance has no basis. "For two years, classes were disrupted due to the coronavirus pandemic," he said, arguing that Lallan Kumar "should've told me directly if he wanted a transfer".
The university says it has taken note of the charge that the college sees no classes. "We will inquire into that," said RK Thakur, Vice-Chancellor of Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar Bihar University. "Professor Lallan Kumar is upset regarding his transfer demand. He has given us a cheque but we have not accepted it."
Lallan Kumar, who has a PhD, studied at Delhi University and Jawaharlal Nehru University.