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August 10, 2009

Solution of Ragging

With reports of ragging coming in from colleges in Asom, and given the recent suspension of nine students of Dibrugarh University on charges of ragging their juniors, it is clear that the evil of ragging continues to persist in the campus despite the Supreme Court strictures to universities that ragging be proscribed in toto. The University Grants Commission (UGC) has also issued guidelines to universities to stop ragging. But how far are the guidelines being adhered to? How serious are the college and university authorities in eliminating the scourge of ragging from the campus? More importantly, what about the attitude of students who are used to perpetrating the terror of ragging on freshers and for whom the ragging span happens to be the most cherished of moments in their college or university life? That attitude cannot change as a result of mere strictures and guidelines.

This brings us to the psychology that goes behind ragging — or that informs ragging — sans which life in the campus would seem to be drearily dull to many, as though conditioned by a school-like monotony and the stifling list of dos and don’ts. ‘‘We’re mature people. So what’s the harm if we have a bit of fun with our juniors? We’ll only be trying to familiarize them with the kind of life here. And it’s actually about breaking walls between seniors and juniors,’’ the apparently innocuous and enlightened votaries of ‘ragging as introduction’ would argue. However, there is no limit to the temptation of being a little bit sadist. And here the problem originates. In that fair game called ‘introduction’ that the fun-driven senior is free to define and redefine depending on the situation, nothing is in fact fair. The junior has to surrender even his dignity — because that is how his seniors would want him to get ‘introduced’ to all about him, while the sadist crowd revels and ventilates its own subdued feelings sourced from past years when the members of the crowd were freshers and had to undergo a similar ordeal. In other words, ragging, which is more often than not an euphemism for physical and mental torture of the highest degree inflicted on innocent freshers in colleges and universities, is a continuum of sadistic pleasure blended with an element of group merriment. And on the freshmen’s day, the senior gives the greatest mandate of sorts to his/her junior that henceforth he/she is as free as anyone to rag the fresher in the successive years. It is this psyche — a function of perverse youth attitude and temptation — that ought to be challenged along with putting anti-ragging strictures and guidelines in place. And how many freshers have the courage to complain against their seniors? Therefore, the best panacea to ragging can come only from within — the hostel. It is only when enlightened and courageous boarders come together and form an anti-ragging body in each and every hostel that ragging will come to an end. The responsibility lies with the sane and civilized among the seniors. THE SENTINEL

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