Social movements have always played a greater role in shaping society. These movements define the direction in which community or a nation will go. Every couple of years researchers of India also have to agitate for some of the very basic rights such as grants, fellowships, access to journals, etc. but every time a movement is built it is either stopped or it loses intensity to fight bigger battles. The onus is then passed onto the next generation of researchers to start a movement and do the same thing again.
Hike in Research Fellowship 2018-19 movement is an academic example of building a great movement by the researchers but unfortunately, it is also an example of how easy it is for a movement to lose its steam. The movement started with a great momentum with people joining in along with the aid of the election atmosphere in India, the demands of the researchers were clear and everyone was on board, but as soon as the MHRD announced the minimal hike the movement started to lose its intensity; some of the researchers were happy, some sad and some agitated. Every day I see a lot of queries on the Hike in Research Fellowship 2018-19 Facebook page which shows the confusion about the hike for Non-net fellows, Masters, arts and humanities fellows.
Hence it is important to launch a new movement which not only demands the hike in fellowship but also address the issue of grants, access to research journals, timely submission of PhD and viva, increase in fellowship for non-NET/humanities/arts students, forum for addressing grievances, treating researchers like human beings and not some result yielding machines, timely reimbursement of fellowship and grants. To create a movement on such a bigger scale three things will be needed.
Educate the fellow researchers about the need for the movement and how it can shape the future generations of Ph.D. It is also important to motivate them to give time for the cause. Educate society about the importance of research and research scholars in the process of developing an enlightened nation. The support of the society is important as the lawmakers, unfortunately, will only listen when a bigger number speaks and not when a fragmented community speaks. Educate the young generation of PhDs to fight for their rights and never give up.
Agitation does not mean at all to act violently, the agitation here is a mental agitation and not a physical one. After getting educated the next move is to use that education to agitate our thoughts and ask questions to the right people with the right intensity. An agitated mind will keep on questioning until it finds the answers to its questions.
It is easier to organize educated and agitated minds for a greater cause. The organization should be on the basis of ideas and for the cause that everyone wants to fight for. Researchers should meet and organize time to time to never let the steam off from the movement. Even very big movements lose their intensity if they are not organized properly, hence it is important for the leaders of the movement to keep meeting regularly and deciding the right direction of the movement.
- Mritunjay Sharma finished his B.Sc (H) from Kirori Mal College, Delhi University in Chemistry. After that he went to England to study Masters in Polymer Material Science and Engineering from University of Manchester and consequently finished his PhD in Nuclear and Materials Chemistry from University of Manchester
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