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Ragging mere interaction among students or an abuse?

New Delhi, Mon, 17 Sep 2007 Pallavi Sharma

Sep 17: Story of Sanjay pal Singh is no different from various other previous stories of ragging and spoiling mental balance and bright future of budding citizens. Now we don’t feel the news of this MCA student of Lucknow having nervous break-down due to ragging as shocking. Why? More because we have become used to such incidents of harassment of students. And we just let it go. Somewhere we either ignore the things or just tolerate them or give justification of non-activity to our mind saying what we can do if college administration, government and laws are not able to prevent it. But it is serious issue to dwell upon because it paints the negative picture of the world in the raw mind and distorts the personality.

Some we can see justifying the practice itself on baseless grounds. Shocking is that those who suffer due to ragging and survive are the very advocates of this malpractice. Is this the atmosphere, our blooming citizens should get while entering to the college with the dreams of future in their eyes? Why to adopt exploitative measures to expose them to the realities of the world, a justification normally given by the raggers and supporters.

Let’s come to the starting point what is ragging? Ragging meant to break the ice between juniors and seniors, a kind of interaction but in theory only. Practically, Ragging now is considered in international arena a human rights abuse in educational institutions perpetrated by seniors over the juniors. It may involve any abuse physical, verbal and sexual. It takes its horrible appearance in engineering, medical and yes in military colleges too.

Our Supreme Court defines ‘ragging’ ‘as any disorderly conduct by words or act....indulging in rowdy or undisciplined activities which may cause annoyance, hardship or psychological harm or to raise fear or apprehension thereof in a fresher or junior student or asking him to do something which .... has the effect of causing or generating a sense of shame or embarrassment so as to adversely affect the physique or psyche of a fresher or a junior student’.

From psychological perspective two factors provide basis to the concept of ragging. One is that it facilitates the interaction between juniors and seniors and it makes a positive impact on the personality. Fresh incident of Lucknow states all the facts about this heinous practice. What it does to the students who come to build their character and skills for a better future. Repeated incidents of torture either render the students insensitive to the pains of others or break the self-respecting students mentally by creating the atmosphere of fear and apprehension. Ultimately sensitive ones commit suicide or leave the college or hostel premises. Where is the positive effect?

Torturing the fellow students, subjecting them to exploitation or whipping them at will gives the sadistic pleasure which in itself shows a distorted psyche. Where are the roots in the system, society or family upbringing?

Whatever it is but needs to be uprooted from such a place of sanctity as educational institutions. First law, putting curbs on this heinous crime was enacted by Tamil Nadu government. This practice took such vicious turns that Supreme Court had to intervene and order the appointment of a panel to study the remedial measures to deal with this problem. Supreme Court itself made it obligatory for academic institutions to file official FIR with the police in case of complaint of ragging. This would help the formal investigation under criminal justice system.

Recently the committee headed by CBI director, Dr. R K. Raghawan has recommended that ragging should be included as a special section of Indian Penal Code. The committee also considered it a failure to inculcate human values from the schooling stage. Committee also called for the active role of the civil society and media. Here lies the burden.

The committee recommends the exemplary punishment to deter the recurrence of the process. Among other measures any failure on the part of institutional authority or deliberate delay will be considered an act of culpable negligence. Courts should also tackle the ragging cases on the basis of priority. Anti-ragging squads and committees will be constituted in the institutions. Apart from all the measures awareness programmes regarding the threat and consequences of ragging should be launched.

Despite all this what we need is the initiative from the side of the students only to end this unhealthy practice.


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September 18, 2007 at 12:00 AM

The best way to stop this is to take the seniors who indulge in ragging to court and subject them to the same treatment they subject to the juniors in front of the media and then test if the ice breaks between them and the judiciary and the media. Lets see if they will emerge with a stronger personality.

Dr. Kushal Banerjee

September 18, 2007 at 12:00 AM

29 DEATHS in 7 years ( at least)

Doesn't it provide enough ground why we must stand against Ragging ???

No Ragging Foundation, India's most promising Anti Ragging Organization, highly condemns every ragging incident.

Despite the interim orders of the Honbl. Supreme Court being in effect, 3 more ragging deaths have been reported from across the country in about 4 months.

Many more incidents of serious ragging are also appearing just as earlier.

We have received complaints about prestigious institutions , where allegedly part of the faculty are backing the raggers.

Law is there, but breaking the law has become a tradition in this country.

We need much more social awareness, and as the Dr. Raghavan Committee has recommended, Media and Civil Society must boost up activities to curb ragging.

We, at the No Ragging Foundation , are working on these fields for the last 2 years.

It's the people, who must come forward , to stop this Indian version of the Abu Ghraib.

As Tagore told, "the one commits a crime and the one who tollerates it are equally guilty".

Only law is just a captainless ship in an uncharted voyage.

Thanks and regards,
Dr. Kushal Banerjee,
No Ragging Foundation


September 17, 2007 at 12:00 AM

Guys, all these articles are far from the truth. Things are getting better now with freshers having hidden cellphones etc. to prove the crime inflicted upon them and there is a well defined punishment by law for things done during ragging. However, if kids want to they can still rag the hell out of their junior batch and get away with it with the full knowledge of the warden.
juniors do not have the guts to complain or else they cant live in the city anymore. Sometimes they are followed even to their hometown after leaving college. who wants to ruin a future they worked so hard for? the ones without any mental fortitude are the ones to break down and cry and
quit. Even batchmates laugh at them.
The comment above from Sanjeev is so naive. What do you mean you did not "ACCEPT"?? who cares if you do or not. Ragging is actively inflicted and if you do not comply you may end up in the hospital which I did. I realized I would rather do some stupid, embarrassing stuff than than get myself injured.I could not care less. I was there for a purpose and would not budge. After the first year the same seniors were friends are still now after 9 years.
What should be done to stop the this:
1. Surveillance 24 hours on every floor and wing, atleast every 15 minutes.
2. instill in the weak the mental fortitude to face the ragging, if it still happens by some chance. they are depressed for two reason, the ragging and the fact that they are being laughed at by even their batchmates.

Sanjeev Kumar Punj

September 17, 2007 at 12:00 AM

This is how we put an end to ragging. We were FTII's 1980 Batch, and the seniors were thinking it is yet another batch of fools they can get away with. Till they met two guys both born on 10th March.Rajiv Singh and me had already met on the first day, and we had a mischief up our sleeves. We wanted to end this ragging.One day we revolted in a surprise manner which even the seniors did not anticipate.It was non-violent, we did not accept ragging per se from that point onwards. The seniors eventually lined us up and abused us angrily, saying our futures would be affected if we did not accept ragging (see here's the catch, if we do not accept it, it cannot be forced upon us) and that was the end of their ragging days. Another Piscean Rajesh Parmar showed unprecedented guts, he organised his wing-mates effectively and Alok joined in, and it was a peaceful end to ragging. No more Farshi Salaams or any other stupidities. Till today I feel good about having done this.


September 17, 2007 at 12:00 AM

35 years ago when i joined hostel as an engineering student,we faced RAGGING.Even at that time it was understood to be a feature of some military estblihments and in civil institutions only students who lacked self-esteem practiced it.Further if things tended to go out of hand Principal/Super were in a position to rusticate the guilty.To-day things have changed; majority is of students without self-esteem and they also appear to enjoy parental and faculty support to practice criminal varities of RAGGING.



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