Are teachers prohibited to marry?
At the time when the world is sending their felicitations and best wishes to Indian star cricketer Virat Kohli and actress Anushka Sharma on tying their knot in Italy we have an unpleasant story in this part of the world. Yes, Tariq Ahmad Bhat and Sumaiya Bashir from Arigam in Tral township of Pulwama district in South Kashmir who both were working as teachers in a private school in Pampore area were sacked on the day of their wedding. The school principal called both the teachers on their wedding day and instead conveying them his greetings shocked them with the verbal termination from their jobs.
Their marriage celebration turned into sadness. They were trying to figure out what went wrong. What made their school principal to dismiss them from their jobs on the day they were expecting of receiving wishes and blessings from their friends and colleagues. They were in deep shock and sorrow on the day which is supposed to be the happiest day of anyone’s life. "You cannot imagine how it impacted our marriage. My mother fainted and the celebrations turned into mourning," said Tariq.
Tariq Ahmad Bhat who was in complete depression and melancholy went to school a few days later after his marriage to know why he and his newly-wed bride were sacked from the school. To his utter surprise he was told that he had sent a wrong message to 2000 students and 200 staff members of the school by executing a love marriage. He was terminated on the charges that he was in romantic relationship with Sumaiya before getting married.
As per Tariq, he had got engaged with Sumaiya six months before and the whole school administration knew about it. Even his wife Sumaiya had hosted a party for his colleagues then. Sumaiya was working in girls’ wing and Tariq in boys’ wing of the school. The two wings are in separate buildings, and their teachers and students have no way to interact . If according to school administration they were in romantic relationship then why didn’t they fired them then and there. Why they waited till the day of their wedding.
Islam has laid a great emphasis on marriage. Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) has said that among all the events, the event of Nikkah is the best time and its is my Sunnat (religious obligation) which everyone should oblige. There is one more tradition which says that anyone who enters into a wedlock protects his faith (Imaan). Marriage is legal whichever way you look at it and both Tariq and Sumaiya have done no crime if they tied their knot as per the Islamic traditions and rule of the land.
At the time when heinous crimes are happening at the alarming pace and moral ethics have remained in books only, a wedlock even if it has happened on the personal choice of the couple is far better than to elope with the gangster. Even Hazrat Khajida tul Kubra (S.A.) who was the richest women of her time and was known as ‘Malikatul Arab’ the Queen of Arabia after getting highly impressed with the intellect and honesty of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) sent marriage proposal to him which he accepted; their marriage was solemnized by Prophet Mohammed’s guardian uncle Hazrat Abu Talib (A.S.), who read the marriage sermon and exchanged vows as jurist.
I am not approving an illicit relationship before marriage but Islam has given us every right to marry as per our liking in accordance with the teachings of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) and Holy Quran. Tariq and Sumaiya are residents of same village so their families might be knowing each other which would have translated into their marriage. So in all circumstances Tariq and Sumaiya did nothing unlawful which could have prompted the school authorities to discontinue their services which they were rendering since many years with dedication and sincerity.
Dear Principal, Tariq was in your school since last five years. He left no stone unturned to perform his professional duties during that time. If we accept your argument that he was in romantic relationship then why didn’t you took notice of it at the time of his engagement six months ago. Is it because you wanted to grab their winter months salaries by sacking them during winter vacations?
Let me share my experience with you. I have worked as teacher in a private school in Srinagar for few months. It was a great experience to learn the various facets of teaching. I was quite enjoying it until one day the chairman of the school launched a surgical strike on the teaching staff. In a single day he sacked 10-15 teachers who were there since many years. Everyone was shocked and outraged. They were crying bitterly along with their favourite students. I was quite perturbed. I tried to probe how he could have done it with the diligent and hard working staff of the school. Then I came to know it was all executed to recruit new staff at low pay scale. This is how we treat our nation builders.
We all know private school teachers burn midnight oil to impart quality education to their students and they deliver in best possible way. Their results speak high all the time. Even government appointed teachers sent their wards to private institutes keeping in view the top performances fetched by private schools in present times. But its very tragic that despite doing a great service to the nation they are mistreated and paid below par.
Private school teachers are paid meagre salaries albeit the school authorities get exorbitant fees from the parents. Even if a teacher spends large part of his life teaching in private school, there is no job security. The school administration can terminate him or her as and when they desire. No one can confront them as there is no mechanism in place for the welfare of private school teachers.
Govt needs to step up and take necessary steps for the prosperity and wellbeing of private school teachers so that nation builders don’t suffer the ill treatment and humiliation anymore.
(The author is a freelance writer and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Opinion expressed by him is his own)