“Ragging is a part of academics not an offence”

Introduction:

Initially, ragging started in the British era in English colleges and universities but it slowly spread to Indian educational institutions. The excuse was to teach the social hierarchy in early career, and also learn other important values in life as if they were mature enough to know anything about values and hierarchy.[1]

What is ragging? What does it mean?

Ragging is present participle of the word, rag (to scold).[2]One synonym of the word ragging is ‘hard-time’[3]. It is similar to but not the same as hazing in the United States, it is not an initiation.The word is mainly used in India, Pakistan, Sri-lanka and Bangladesh.[4]

Bullying= Ragging, similar to ragging.[5]

What all can be possibly included?

It involves insults (simple or suggestive sexual, sarcastic and even physical), running errands for seniors, and many other complex activities.

The cause of indulging in ragging is deriving a sadistic pleasure or showing off power, authority or superiority by the seniors over their juniors or freshers.[6]

Is it a part of academics or an offence?

I independently do not support the notion of ragging being a part of academics.  Ragging might not always be offensive (to the one who suffers), but only because it is offensive it is called ‘ragging’. if it was just a means to cover the communication gap between the senior and the junior batches it could have been called something else, like an introduction, orientation or something like that but because it is offensive in its nature the name ‘ragging’ has been given to it. The word ragging or to rag someone itself indicates, mocking or mockery, to make someone feel ashamed or embarrassed, or strongly criticize.[7] No prudent man would call such acts or instances a part of academics.

The practice of familiarising beginners with their seniors has now turned into a potent tool for ill-treating and punishing poor students if they fail to obey their seniors.

“Ragging is deplorable, and must be banned. Be it physical, mental, minor or major, ragging is a very perverted show of power, control and humiliation, and not way of getting anyone to join a community and blend into it. There are more interesting ways of doing that.”[8]

Under the pretext of fun, a poor student is often assaulted, sometimes even stripped and intimidated by his seniors and this ritualised torture leaves an indelible impression on his mind. The chilling incident continues to haunt him throughout his life, and he unknowingly develops various psychological disorders.

Ragging is equal to a full-fledged crime.[9]

Though due to a ban it has been limited but its existence in colleges has become ever-persistent. Often defended by excuses like it is

  • a means to teach social hierarchy,
  • helps in building better bonds with the senior
  • inculcates respect towards the senior batch amongst the junior batch
  • introduces and prepares one to the hardships of the world
  • Builds confidence to act in the most embarrassing situations too, etc.

Many colleges such as AIIMS, Christian Medical College and National college of engineering, Tirunelveli have an unpleasant history of ragging, with many of the alumni regarding the ragging period as unbearable and traumatic.[10]

Effects of ragging:

  1. It can damage one’s esteem for life.
  2. Shatters the confidence with which one enters into a new institution or college.
  3. In extreme cases on might even withdraw from college, severely disturbing one’s career.
  4. Brutal sexual ragging can distort the minds of the young.
  5. Embarrassment
  6. Feeling of being humiliated can adversely affect one’s mental order.
  7. One fears social exposure
  8. Unnecessary tension leading to various psychological disorders.

After experiencing the evil of ragging, a student develops a feeling of revenge for his ‘unjustified harassment’ and derives pleasure in ragging his juniors on his turn. So the trend goes on and students continue to suffer.

those who surrender before their seniors are set free from the torment after going through a series of inhuman acts, but those who refuse to follow their diktats are subjected to barbaric and brutal treatment and are forced to urinate on high voltage heaters, take part in naked parades, shave off their moustaches and beards, and stand upside down on their heads etc.

The situation sometimes turns so bad that it compels the ragging victim to commit suicide. A section of students feel that light ragging should be allowed in educational institutions, while some are totally opposed to the idea and demand stricter punishment for those involved in it.

Had it not been for his elder brother Dinesh, Suresh Raina would have returned to his home in Muradnagar and a promising cricketing career would have been nipped in the bud, due to ragging.[11]

The bitter truth is that ragging, whether liked or not, even after being banned, ragging has now become a culture. It has become more like a customary practice in colleges. Almost, every college has it noticed or unnoticed.

The world is harsh anyways, but one has to stay strong.

Even the Supreme Court has delivered guidelines for anti-ragging measures, (including an anti-ragging committee), on 8th may’09.

[1]History of ragging, retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ragging_in_India last visited on 31st aug’16, 12:27pm

[2] Retrieved from http://english.stackexchange.com/questions/234101/usage-and-meaning-of-the-word-ragging-in-india last visited on 31st aug’16, 3:55pm

[3] Synonym of the word ragging, retrieved from http://www.thesaurus.com/browse/ragging?s=t last visited on 31st aug’16, 3:45pm

[4]http://english.stackexchange.com/questions/234101/usage-and-meaning-of-the-word-ragging-in-india last visited on 31st aug’16, 5:12pm

[5] Emmanuel Angelo.R, retrieved from http://english.stackexchange.com/questions/234101/usage-and-meaning-of-the-word-ragging-in-india last visited on 31st aug’16, 12:22pm

[6] Retrieved from, http://www.rpgmc.ac.in/rpgmce%20tanda%20Ant5%20Ragg5ng%20book.pdf last visited on 31st aug’16, 2:56pm

[7] Retrieved from, http://www.macmillandictionary.com/us/dictionary/american/rag_2 last visited on 31st aug’16, 4”16pm

[8]SonamMohapatra

[9] Arjun Rampal

[10]History of ragging, retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ragging_in_India last visited on 31st aug’16, 12:27pm

[11]Retrieved from http://www.hindustantimes.com/news-feed/chunk-ht-ui-cricket-topstories/kid-off-the-blocks/article1-657403.aspx last visited on 31st aug’16,12:57pm


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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AISHWARYA HIMANSHU SINGH

Aishwarya Himanshu Singh is a final year law student. An aspiring researcher who has a deep love for writing. With her first publication at the age of 13, she believes a pen is mightier than the sword. Having authored more than 50 papers she is all set for the ‘writing for a change’ programme.

 

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