Ragging – Rising, Raging, Rocketing

Posted on January 24, 2010 in Education

Abhirup Bhunia:

Ragging is a growing menace that would eventually intensify furthermore unless the HRD ministry takes up the issue more seriously, and forms harsher anti-ragging laws. There has been an Aman Kachroo (a 19 year old Delhi Public School student who had taken admission in Dr Rajendra Prasad Medical College, Tanda, in Kangra, Himachal Pradesh last year and met with a horrible death due to ragging by the drunk seniors who are training to be doctors), there will be more if mere spectatorship and indifference continues.

Originally, to rag was to make fun of someone; but that was the ragging was essentially confined to non-violent activities. Ragging, commonly known as ‘hazing’ in USA, in this day and age, has reached terrible heights and assumed vast proportions and rightly qualifies to be a crime. There had been a recent uproar in medical students being ragged and a peculiar link to the movie ‘3 Idiots’ was raked up. And that was it…The hullabaloo died out. On January 4th reports of those 18 medical students charged of ragging being let off with a rupees 5000 bond, surfaced.

Reportedly, only 60% of the ragging that takes place, reaches the ears of the college authorities; and if such is the case, perhaps 40% of the total gets reported to courts, police and most importantly, the public — needless to say institute authorities like to keep themselves aloof of controversy and taint.

The evil of ragging has resulted in many students being permanently disturbed, mentally or/and physically. There is a common belief that the ordeal is over once the incident gets over; that is anything but true. Sexual ragging amounts to almost 33% of the ragging that takes place in institutes today, and there have been instances when the one subject to such experiences faced lasting effects.

Noted doctor of psychiatry, Dr Samir Parikh said to a journalist, who was filing a report on the issue, some years ago, “Sexual ragging has an impact on the psyche as sexual self-esteem is a very important part of a young adult’s life. The memories of the incident can impinge on the long-term social and sexual life of the victim”. Now since this is the real world and to expect a Ranchod (3 idiots, Aamir Khan) here would be foolery, juniors by and large give in to these transient monstrous seniors. The most grotesque form is the one that has the sexual overtone but other forms of ragging have serious effects too. “Verbal insults, innuendoes and harassment are the kinds that can totally ruin a student’s personality. So, these should be thrown out of the system”, remarked Parikh.

Reportedly there have been 88 ragging cases in 2009 alone of which 12 have resulted into death, either by suicide or as a direct consequence. What has transpired from all these is a national anti-ragging helpline, respective councils issuing circulars to colleges, a supreme court ruling, and authorities ‘condemning’ these events each time one occurs. All colleges today have an anti-ragging cell but what worries is the fact that these cells are formed by those seniors who perpetrate such episodes. Hence the idea of an anti-ragging cell is either misconstrued or not, but the plan comes to a cropper for sure.

A few NGO’s have taken up the cause, of which the prominent ones are SAVE (Society for Abolition of Violence from Education) and CURE. More than 30 (reported) deaths have occurred in the past decade due to ragging and the figures are testimony of the jeopardy that the education system faces.

Ragging is something which is very real and happens very close to us. So all you would-be seniors (and seniors already, of course); remember:

“Ragging is NOT heroic, opposing ragging is.”