School days pass by with strict code of conduct and a monotonous uniform. The moment a student starts fantasizing about his college, he paints a mental picture full of vibrant colors, colors of his casual wears and accessories(J).He imagines freedom from the boring lectures of faculty and walking out of a class with utmost pride and what not. One of the many things that come into its mind when a student thinks of college is “Ragging”. This thought may not necessarily be an apprehensive one, for there are disparate views of the youth on this issue. Some appear excited about the challenges they would be asked to face while some start planning their escape. I can say so empathetically as I have been a part of this tale. The ragging or bullying issue is a controversial issue in my eyes as per the present day scenario of Indian colleges.
I have observed this issue closely and stand as witness to various aspects of the same. When I entered college, I had the thrill and the “what if’s” in my mind regarding every new encounter at campus. One such ‘what-if ’was regarding the well known concept of ragging. We were advised to stay away from seniors and as per the rule, any senior whom we interacted with (even to get books) would be debarred from the university as he would be suspected of ragging the junior. This made the juniors feel safe enough so much so that the seniors felt unsafe. But many of fresher’s complained that they were devoid of any interaction with the seniors as they hesitated to even converse, just to save their skin. Now that was not what was intended but that’s what came out to be as the result of ‘strict banning of ragging’ put in a different meaning by the college authorities.
While the students were longing to be ragged at my university there was another university where in guys were ragged in every possible manner and at every nook and corner. The saga went on for one semester (i.e. 6 months) ,those who could stand it and take every hurdle in a sportive manner were now the equals among their seniors and the rest couldn’t bear further and so they tried to flee in various possible ways. Everything could have been balanced if only the extent of the act of ragging hadn’t crossed all boundaries. Somehow the seniors had misunderstood the legacy and concept of ragging at college and given it their own meaning. The result came out to be in the forms of suicide, mental stress, psychological disorder and what not. Who was to be blamed? The raggers or the one’s who allowed themselves to be hoodwinked?
In my opinion, the foremost to be blamed is their environment. Be it the cruel seniors or the timid juniors, the basic fault lies in the system that they live in, as all are nothing but students. The teachers today lack the dignity of the Guru’s of olden times and so they knowingly or unknowingly trigger the hatred in the budding minds. The present day faculty at most of the colleges has developed a tendency to compare students with themselves and let out their personal frustrations at the upcoming generation. This triggers a chain reaction where in the knowledge givers shower humiliation and wrath at the knowledge seekers and the latter find no one but their juniors to pass it on. This develops a false sense of pride at each level of the hierarchy and thus propagates fake notions of primitive concepts.
“Every action has an equal and opposite reaction” seems to have failed as an understandable theory. What is done today, to handle the youth, is something contradictory to this law. Tamil Nadu became the first state to come up with legislation against ‘Ragging’ by making students sign anti-ragging stamp paper. I certainly do not see this going in the right direction. The simplest thing we notice in a child is that he always does what he is forbidden from doing and by making it a crime to rag, we surely are going to encounter some upheaval. Youth is the reflection of the elderly and if the elders decide to act stern on every matter instead to trying to solve it out peacefully then the youth is going to follow even more insensitive methods to solve future tribulations.
If only the chain reaction could go the other way round….If only the knowledge givers could enlighten the seekers… the seniors could befriend their juniors….and guide them ahead instead of misleading them.