Ragging – The Other Side
Ragging was earlier, a way of teasing or a lighter way dealing with juniors and fresher in colleges by the seniors- especially in the first few days of introduction it was way of getting to know your seniors and vice versa. This slowly became a son of custom in colleges all over India. The seniors did not stop at asking fresher their names, they asked their interest, hobbies and even made them sing and dance. Those who were a little smart took it in their stride but those who were a little shy and timid felt embarrassed. But still the environment was friendly then. That was the days of sixties and seventies.
Gradually, ragging as a custom in college started taking colors of bullying and torturing. In most of the degree college and professionals colleges, ragging became a symbol of dominance and harassment which the fresher and juniors were scared of, to face. Seniors bullied them on any small pretext, made them do work for them, asked them to run errands, questioned their friendships and put them in difficult situations which some juniors took without question and some reacted with question and some reacted back, leading to fights and a feeling of animosity. The dominant and thoughtless attitude towards the fresher or juniors slowly became the reasons for revenge in some extreme cases of ragging. The kind of natural respect that the seniors should have a got from juniors started lacking and it is only fear that made juniors obey their seniors against their will. In the eighties and nineties there were some sad cases of ragging- even causing the death of students and also in some cases the student had a nervous breakdown resulting in lot of personal suffering and ending their dreams. Victims suffer silently when abused, in most cases causing lot of trauma and ultimately driving them to suicides. Every year cases of ragging are on the rise- it is widespread and goes unreported. In the year 2000 onwards, ii is being talked as a menace as things got worse.
A report in 2007 says there were 42 cases of physical injury and seven deaths. In the past seven years there have been reports of 30-31 deaths-most of them committing suicides because of the humiliation of ragging.
The sad growth of this ragging has been due to the shameful attitude of some sections of students and the unconcerned attitude of the authorities of educational institutions. The authorities never got involved in this. never stopped or punished at the right time. Also, the absence of a law in place added to the sad state.
The only non-governmental organization-SAVE (society against violence in education) which is a registered group, fighting against ragging and also reporting ragging. The press and other media too are bringing the incidents to the public notice.
In 1997. Tamil Nadu passed laws against ragging. Subsequently, in a landmark judgment of Supreme Court of India in May, 2001, ragging became punishable.
In 2006, SC took strong stand to prevent ragging and asked the human resources ministry to form a panel to list measures to stop ragging. The panel was headed by Dr. R.K. Raghavan. Based on the committee’s recommendations, in May 2007. it is obligatory or compulsory for institutions to file a first information report (FIR) with police on complaints of ragging from students. Most of the institutions like IITs and colleges have banned ragging but the effectiveness of the ban seem to be namesake. It must be implemented strictly to end this menace.
A platform in the form of a proper welcome function could be planned and executed by the seniors inviting the juniors or freshers to participate. With the guidance and help of the teaching staff- this will create a friendly atmosphere and help in mingling of both groups or a healthy relationship.