[Reader-list] ragging

Asthana, Rahul Rahul.Asthana at CIBC.com
Tue Jun 29 21:16:39 IST 2004

(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)
I know that this sort of thing happens.Students are ragged by
outsiders(local friends of seniors) or outside of the college campus, or in
their hostel rooms at night to bypass observation\rules.
The reason for that is-

a)Most of the students, and college authorities too,dont really believe that
ragging is a bad thing.They do hear about the barbaric incidents, but they
feel that they are not as bad as those people,and the situation in their
college is not as bad as the place where such incidents happened.I will tell
you what a faculty member told my class regarding ragging when the fresher
batch came in-
"Listen guys, about this ragging, please take care that it is not
inadequate,I dont care if it is excessive."  
They do not realize that the situation goes out of hand in what starts as
seemingly harmless ragging.When they do realize it, something terrible has
happened and it is already too late.So,unless and until,the belief that
ragging is bad is instilled, raggers will find ways to break the rules and
authority will continue to be apathetic to the complaints.The only way I see
this happening is through the media and through researchers.
I dont know if there is some sort of institution in India that does this
kind of research.I saw a movie called "Holi" a long time back and in it was
the closest-to-reality portrayal of ragging that I have seen on screen.More
and more such stories should come out, and the steps that Shivam has taken
in this regard are indeed laudable.
b)Secondly, some of the students are really sadistic;deriving pleasure by
inflicting pain on people and abusing thereby their position of authority
that probably they haven't had anytime else in their lives.Here, the
authorities may be the only hope,and that too if the authorities are already
sensitized to the dangers of ragging.Moreover,as I wrote in my earlier post,
such raggers are probably more messed up than anybody else they will rag,
and they need counselling to help them resolve their issues.

-----Original Message-----
From: reader-list-bounces at sarai.net
[mailto:reader-list-bounces at sarai.net]On Behalf Of Michiel Baas
Sent: Tuesday, June 29, 2004 4:09 AM
To: reader-list at sarai.net
Subject: RE: [Reader-list] ragging

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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