This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Monica Koshy. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Ragging Up By 70% In 2017, And The Report Card For This Year Looks Even More Grim

More from Monica Koshy

15 MBBS students from the 2013, 2014, 2015 batches of IGIMS (Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences) college were suspended on July 19. The suspension occurred on account of a ragging incident that took place earlier in the month.

The Complaint

Few students from the 2016 batch lodged a FIR at a police station in Patna. The students, in their complaint stated that they were “mentally and physically” harassed by seniors, continuously for two days. They also provided the names of the seniors in their complaint.

The Nightmare That’s Ragging

There are several rules that have been designed to curb the menace of ragging. In spite of this, the problem still persists. It has become the new normal in college. Ragging is also another form of “structured bullying”, a tradition passed from one batch to the next. Senior students feel a sense of authority and power over the freshers, both mentally and physically. In most cases, the college management either remains ignorant or unresponsive to the complaints.

A nationwide toll free anti-ragging helpline 1800-180-5522 has been set up by the University Grants Commission (UGC) following the Apex Court’s directive.

Problem Of Ragging Across India

According to the law, “Ragging can send you to jail for 10 years. In India, ragging is banned in all campuses. Such acts are punishable by fines of up to Rs. 50,000, jail terms ranging from six months to 10 years, and awarding of certificates that “the student had indulged in ragging” which can adversely affect career prospects.”

The problem of ragging is a major issue in many colleges across the country, despite these regulations. The premier institutions of our country, the IITs, NITs and the NLUs have had major ragging incidents. Ragging is an age-old practice that has been continuing over the generations.

As per data collected by the UGC, 3,299 cases of ragging of students have been registered across India between April 18, 2012 and December 12, 2017.  Incidents of ragging registered a 70% increase in 2017.

As per reports, only 957 students were punished in these cases. The Union HRD Minister Prakash Javedkar on 23rd July informed the Rajya Sabha about the drastic rise of ragging complaints in Higher Educational Institutions. As per UGC reports, the number of complaints has doubled in the last three years.

“Of the total of 1,839 ragging complaints, 423 were received in 2015 (most of them from West Bengal), 5,215 in 2016, and 901 in 2017,” Javadekar said.

When asked how the culprits were being punished, Javadekar said, “Of the total complaints of ragging, students have been punished in 812 cases, including suspension in 309 cases. On receipt of a complaint of ragging, the educational institution concerned constitutes an anti-ragging committee to investigate the incident. On the basis of the report, the institution takes action against the culprits and if requested, sends an action-taken-report to HRD Ministry.”

This is the situation even after UGC’s strict guidelines to colleges regarding effective anti-ragging measures.

Despite the alarming numbers, there are colleges where ragging hasn’t been an issue. In the last three years, no complaints were received from varsities in Nagaland, Andaman and Nicobar, Daman and Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, and Lakshadweep.

Sundar Pichai And Ragging At IIT Kharagpur

The Google CEO in an interview in 2015 recalled how he had to face ragging in IIT Kharagpur, back in 1989. When Sundar arrived in IIT Kharagpur, he was received by a few seniors at ‘Nehru Hall’. The new students were always ‘oriented’ in their own way by a room full of ‘raggers’. It was considered ‘norm’ to rag and very little has changed.

Ragging Incidents Across The Country

In February, the police registered cases against students of NIT – Andhra Pradesh for ragging a junior student from Bihar. According to the reports, students of the 2nd and 3rd year were involved in the incident. In March, there was another ragging incident recorded in NIT- Agartala where some senior students had called a number of junior students to meet outside the hostel and they physically tortured them. The student suffered major injuries and was not even taken to the hospital. It was only after the victim’s parents arrived that he was taken to the hospital. Punitive action was taken against six senior students; two were suspended academically and the other four were fined ₹ 5,000 and three among them were also asked to quit the hostel. The Anti-Ragging team of the campus held the enquiry and took action.

In September 2017, in another incident, the Management at IIT Kanpur suspended 22 students for ragging freshers. A nine member committee was also formed to probe into the incident of sexual abuse that was done in the name of ragging. The sexual abuse charges were true, which led to the suspension of 16 students for three years and six students for a year.

Back in 2016, there was another ragging incident at Manjeri Medical College in Malappuram, Kerala. As many as, 21 students were suspended after it was found out that they ragged few first-year students of the college. The junior students had complained about the ragging and preliminary action was first taken against the students. Later on, an anti- ragging cell was also formed. There have been several cases of ragging reported in the Coimbatore Medical College in 2016 where a senior student decided to step up on behalf of the juniors who were not willing to speak up.

“It’s unbelievable that a large chunk of the student community does not want to end this culture, despite all that has happened. What I have written here is only the tip of the iceberg as its too personal an account and students have recounted far worse incident”, is what a student wrote in an open letter to her seniors at NLSIU.

And, the list is never-ending.

Ragging And Its Impact

Ragging has a deep impact also on the mental and emotional well being of the student.

Last year, a study, financed by the UGC, was carried out by a committee mandated by the Supreme Court (SC). The study came out with dreadful results on the growing menace of ragging in the higher education institutions in India.

With a sample of over 10,000 students studying in different parts of the country, the report indicated that 84% of students did not report ragging by their seniors or peers. Apart from the obvious fear of reprisal or lack of faith in the system to deliver justice, most students felt ragging was a necessary rite of passage that prepared them for the harsh realities of the world.

Other statistics of the report included; 33% of the students ‘enjoyed’ being ragged by their seniors; 40% believed that the experience helped them build solid friendships; 62% students who were surveyed from over 37 institutions across India, said that the seniors who ragged them as freshers went on to help them in curricular work in the later years.

What’s also problematic is that though almost all colleges have this culture, even the most sought-after colleges haven’t been able to remain outside of its loop, which is highly disturbing.

What this report showed was the sad affair of normalising the crime of ragging. Most students who involve in the activity do not realise the effect on the student. In many cases, the seniors are just replaying what was done to them when they were juniors.

Regardless of the “why” there have been several incidents where students suffer more than the momentary embarrassment. Only long-term suffering mirrors the true effect of this “norm of bullying”.

You must be to comment.

More from Monica Koshy

Similar Posts

By Vipashyana Dubey

By Imran Hasib

By Meemansa Narula

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below