1 Jun, 2007
ANJALI MUTHANNA & PALLAVI BORKAR
Colleges are re-opening and this means that it's going to be a pretty nerve-wracking experience for freshers. It’s that time of year again. Colleges are re-opening and this means that it's going to be a pretty nerve-wracking experience for freshers. It's not just that they're going to be in a new institution and that many will be in a new city altogether ; it's the initiation that they will have to undergo in the form of ragging. And with the Supreme Court saying that ragging is now considered a punishable offence, will that change things for freshers and their college experience?
IT'S JUST SOCIAL INTERACTION
Many students are of the opinion that ragging, at least in Bangalore, is just harmless fun. When mass communication student Baniaikynmaw Shanpru came to Bangalore to do her MA at Commits, she was apprehensive about the ragging she had to face. "I didn't know what it would be like," she says, "but there was nothing extreme. We had to wear white clothes and we were made to dance. I'd call it an interactive session between the seniors and the juniors." Arlene Kharnongrum, a postgraduate student, who did her undergrad in Jyothi Nivas College says she went through fun ragging there. "I've only done the harmless stuff like singing. That's fine and you get to know your seniors," she says. Joash Benjamin, who will join Christ College in a couple of weeks, says that he's not worried about ragging. "It might happen, but I know my seniors already, so it won't be anything I can't handle," he says.
BUT WHAT IF IT'S EXTREME?
Others say that ragging is acceptable to a certain extent, but there are times when it can get out of control and that's when limits have to be set. "Ragging can be permitted, but there must be rules on where to draw the line," says management student student Abhishek Gopal. "Seniors should be called before the juniors come and told that this is as far as it can go. If you cross that, you're liable for punishment." he says. Jemima Mohan, who has just passed out from JNC and is going to join Christ College, says that she's worried about the ragging she'll face at her new college because she's seen what her seniors used to do at her previous one. "Juniors would ask for directions to get to a classroom and the seniors would give them the wrong directions. They'd go to a class and there'd be seniors when you opened the door and they'd laugh. That's embarrassing. That's why I feel ragging shouldn't be allowed because it doesn't help you open up to your seniors," she says.
IS THE SC RULING JUSTIFIED?
Anand Rao, who's a student at a medical college in Bangalore, says he's heard of instances of ragging getting out of hand. "If you're firm about what you will do and what you won't , it's alright. But if the person being ragged is insecure, then it can get out of control. If your seniors ask you to strip completely and you do, comments will be passed and the person being ragged will go home or go back to the hostel weeping," he says. Anand adds that ragging could be supervised, but adds it's not always practical. "So in a sense, it's better to ban it or to pass a law making it a punishable offence, but that might push it underground."
Abhishek, however, says the onus should be on the management. "This is not something that needs the SC's intervention. It is, at the most basic level, a way for juniors to get to know their seniors and the management should set certain rules to ensure it doesn't get out of hand," he says.
Even John Joseph Kennedy, a lecturer at Christ College, says it's up to the teachers to be alert at the beginning of the year. "The SC should not be brought into this. But teachers have to be alert and must be able to distinguish between casual ragging and more serious forms and then step in accordingly," he says.
Anuradha Prabhudesai, counselling psychologist "The government's move to make ragging a punishable offence was necessary. Ragging is a major fear among most students and is more prevalent in medical schools and engineering colleges, especially in the districts. Such cases are often extreme so such a law should have been passed long ago. Students today are already under so much stress with respect to marks, admissions, curriculum - ragging adds on to the overall pressure.
Ragging can cause serious and severe mental damage to a child. It makes it difficult for students to muster up the courage and gain back their self-esteem to continue in college. Ragging is more about humiliation, a strong sense of rejection and fear that students face. People make excuses saying it's another way of making friends but one doesn't need to humiliate the other to be friends."
Posted By Ragging News to Ragging News from Indian Colleges - www.noragging.com
at 6/01/2007 09:48:00 AM