[Reader-list] ragging

Michiel Baas M.Baas2 at uva.nl
Tue Jun 29 13:39:07 IST 2004

In reply to what Rahul wrote: "Adding to what Shivam and Anand have said, the Abu Gharaib brand of ragging is the rule rather than the exception,in most of the parts of North India(I cannot talk about other parts because I dont know)."

I am not from India and thus have never attended a college there but have some friends in the South who did. Their stories are fairly similar to the ones coming from the North.

I myself live in the Netherlands and although the ragging here is somewhat of a smaller scale (for instance: the period is shorter and is limited to certain students who wish to join a student club or frat house of some 'standing' - these students are hardly ever in social sciences for instance) ragging does lead to big problems here as well. A couple of years ago a student died, for instance, because he was forced to drink so much gin that his body gave up. Another example would be the student who had to wear a mask with a hose attached to it: the hose was then attached to a smoking device so that the poor kid was forced to inhale smoke. Naturally he died. 

For years Dutch authorities have been trying to do something about ragging practices. One solution was to forbid frat houses, student clubs etc. to serve alcohol around the time when ragging takes place. This just solves the alcohol problem of course (and I wonder if, in the end, it just didn't have the effect that now the ragging/drinking doesn't take place in the open anymore). The silly thing about rules concerning ragging is, in my opinion, that while it makes certain practices illegal, it legalizes certain others. Indian law, just as Dutch law, already has rules about hurting, 'damaging' etc. people. School authorities should play a much more active role in preventing out of control ragging. 


Michiel Baas
Amsterdam, the Netherlands

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