Thursday, July 9, 2009


All right, lets get back to some more serious business(Hope you liked the movie reviews).

Ragging:- The word itself sends shivers down the spines of many freshers(am talking about students who are just about to enter college, in case it was Not clear- You may argue that a person who gets fresh after a bath is also a fresher, sigh). There are many freshers who keep panicking when they step into college for the first time. ‘What is going to happen to me now? What will the seniors do to me? God, help me.’ These are but common thoughts. It’s almost as if the person is entering into a prison, about to get bullied by his fellow convicts, rather than entering into an institution which provides learning. And what is his/her fault? Nothing, other than the fact that he/she is a fresher.

So, a student who dares to enter college, must get ragged? Is that it? To many sick sadists, the answer is yes. Ragging is something which is inevitable and you should prepare in advance for it, since it can’t be avoided. This is their view. Sadly this view persisted for decades, and it is only recently that the Supreme Court has made ragging a criminal offence, with the culprits liable for prosecution and if proved guilty, can be jailed for 7 years or more. Though, this law still remains more on paper, than in reality.

Now what exactly is ragging all about, and why should it be considered as a crime? Isn’t it just a way of breaking the ice between seniors and juniors? A way, by which both groups can come closer, with good interaction between them? Isn’t it just a harmless procedure which is common everywhere? Isn’t ragging just meant for fun? The answers to all these questions, is a strong, resounding NO. Let us delve into it a little further.

The term ragging was originally coined by a group of students (started in Britain I think), who performed shows to raise money for charity. Those shows included dancing, singing, drama, etc, and were completely harmless. Very soon, it was inculcated in Indian colleges, with a far more nefarious twang. Ragging became an instant hit in India. And gradually it spread over to all colleges and universities, streams no bar. We Indians are really good at adopting anything bad, aren’t we? Ragging was given a totally new meaning. We included beating, harassing, teasing, bullying, and every possible evil deed which can be though of, under the pretext of interacting with our juniors. And sadly enough, it persisted. Nobody raised their voice about it, and the few unlucky ones who did, were mercilessly beaten. Neither did the courts take any action against the culprits then, as ragging was considered acceptable.

Ragging can have many forms, but all are equally brutal. Let us examine the various forms and stages of it:-

1) Mental/Emotional Ragging:- I would call this mental torture. There is no physical fighting, but the seniors mentally harass the juniors, either by asking them very embarrassing questions(‘Can I sleep with your girlfriend for a day?’- just an example) , or insulting them (slangs are too common nowadays) and their families. And the junior can do nothing other than listen.

2) Physical Ragging- Low: - This ragging may not actually be harmful. The senior may tell a person to sing or dance, or button up his shirt, act or mime an actor, etc. This is usually not an offense, and is considered very acceptable. Though anything you make someone do against his/her will should be considered as ragging, even if it’s something harmless like singing. After all if a person does NOT want to sing, why force him to?

3) Physical Ragging- High :- This sort of ragging is the worst kind, and more prevalent inside hostels(though not necessarily). The innocent junior is often made to strip, get humiliated, beaten up mercilessly like a convict, sometimes made to parade the hostel naked, sometimes beaten by stones and belts, burned by cigarette butts, made to lick shoes, forced to watch pornographic films and what not. (I have not even touched the more vulgar ones). The sad part is that, hardly anybody dares to oppose or stop this kind of madness. Neither the authorities, nor the other juniors are willing to take any action. The authorities fear their institute will get a bad name, and the juniors fear of getting beaten up even more. And in many cases, it’s often too late for action. We have heard of many students committing suicide, and worse, succumbing to injuries caused by ragging. Is this not equivalent to murder? How can anybody justify ragging as being just mere fun?

This cycle is also never ending, as the juniors who have been ragged, will want to take their frustration out on their juniors next year, and so on this crime continues unhindered. What sickens me is the fact that many students consider ragging as acceptable. They say its okay, if a few guys are slapped here and there, and made to do different things. Most seniors think ragging is fine and should be encouraged. This is almost like saying, torture is fine, and should be given emphasis. And this situation is not prevalent only in less known colleges, but equally prevalent in big named institutes, such as IIT’s, NIT’s, Government Colleges, etc. Are we really producing engineers, doctors, managers, or rather sick sadists and misanthropes, who would like nothing better than to downgrade and harass their juniors? If they behave like this in college, just imagine what they would do to their subordinates after getting into a job?

This is one of the main reasons why so many people complain of having bad bosses. He (the boss) may dress up smart, speak impeccable English and pretend to be a complete gentleman, but can very well be a monster from inside. It’s a mistaken belief that only thugs and ruffians indulge in ragging. I have seen excellent students, with a great intellect, indulge in it as well. Come on, you have such a bright brain. Why are you using it to cause pain to others? Ragging does not benefit anyone in any way, whatsoever. Though the Supreme Court has made it a crime, and now a national helpline for emergencies has been launched, but the bitter truth is that ragging is still prevalent throughout India.

The only way to stop ragging permanently is to follow a zero tolerance approach. Anybody who is caught and proved guilty should be instantly rusticated from the institution and thrown into jail. He should be treated at par with other criminals. And he should NOT be let off (as in most cases) with just a warning and a paltry fine. He will start ragging, again as soon as he re-enters the college campus. If throughout India, all the colleges and universities follow this approach, everyone will be scared to rag anybody. Anti-ragging squads should be formulated, and they should be active and vigilant. Many a times it has been seen that the anti-ragging committee is the one which rags people the most. Authorities need to be strictly vigilant as well, especially the wardens in hostels. Unless we take serious action, ragging is a menace which will continue to haunt India and its students in years to come.

By the way, I would like to repeat that all cases of ragging may not be harmful. But just because one is a senior, he or she has absolutely no right whatsoever to make his/her junior do whatever he/she wishes. (Unfortunately, most seniors do think this way)

Do comment, if you liked (or hated) this article.


Anonymous said...

Hey buddy this is a really nice article but i feel it would have been more effective if you would have stated some real life examples to back your points and bring out the seriousness of the issue.It would make your article more informative and would create a more lasting impact on readers.

Sushmit said...

Ya if u want some real life examples then u can ask me

Animesh Ray said...

Hmmm.... agree with you dude, but I must say that in most cases it does break the ice between the juniors and the seniors...

Jоқєя, ┼ЋЭ said...

Okay, here's a real life incident. I was returning home in the college bus when the seniors decided it was time for ragging. I was sitting at the front (seniors got the back seat) and so my turn came last. They asked me to sing a song. I just stood there quietly for a minute when finally one of them asked me why I wasn't singing. I told them I was singing silence. They were like he's a weird one, leave him alone. xD;

Looking back on it, I guess it was kinda stupid.

Oh yeah, the article. It's good, just some punctuation and stuff. If it was anybody else, I'd let it pass xD.

Satwinder Singh said...

@Manjushaa: Yeah I agree, I forgot to add some real life examples.

@Animesh: Kinda true, yeah

@Joker: No Comments, XD

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