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Ragging: Neither healthy nor fun

Baishali Adak,Jan 8, 2013 20:57 IST
prohibited Academicians believe, a lot needs to be done to make campuses ragging-free.
After a brief lull in cases of ragging, a shocking incident has surfaced in the Capital again. A 22-year-old student of the prestigious School of Planning and Architecture (SPA) was made to do push-ups with bricks on his back for one whole night.

He was also forced to hold his arms out and bear bricks on them for hours altogether damaging his ligaments and knee cap severely. Doctors now say that he may not be able to walk again.

This case comes four years after young Aman Kachroo was ragged to death in a medical college in Himachal Pradesh and many other such cases occurring in between.
Inspite of extensive media coverage on these incidents; strict laws being framed and innumerable sensitisation campaigns, why are such episodes recurring? Why do students indulge in ragging knowing that they could be jailed for it?

Ajay Govind, who works with Society Against Violence in Education, informs Metrolife, “The truth is that inspite of all these awareness drives, people still don’t take ragging seriously. Being an ex-student of DU, I know that many colleges here have long-standing traditions in ragging. No law can touch them. There may be police patrolling in day time but ragging takes place in hostels openly at night; and whenever we do sessions here, the reply we get from students as well as teachers is: thoda bahut to chalta hai.”

He adds, “This irresponsible attitude towards ragging is reflected in our popular media as well. Recently Cadbury brought out an advertisement showing freshers being ragged. One junior student then offers Dairy Milk to pacify his seniors. We complained to the Advertising Standards Council of India and it was banned immediately. Similarly, MTV was running Dadagiri, a show eulogising ragging-like behaviour, and they closed the season on our complaint.”

Not only is our attitude towards ragging complacent, our laws too on this menace are slack. Lawyer Meera Kaura Patel says, “Currently only Maharashtra, West Bengal, Kerala and Tamil Nadu have ragging laws. Other states, including Delhi, have banned ragging through circulars only. In the absence of a central law, the accused are booked under milder sections of the IPC like causing hurt and wrongful restraint.”

“Also,” she continues, “Strict action needs to be taken against institutions where incidents of ragging are routine. For example, SPA, where the recent incident occurred, has a history of such cases. Ragging was reported from here in 2004 and 2007 also. Someone should ask the director why he has failed to curb such incidents.”

Academicians agree that a lot still needs to be done to free campuses of ragging. Dr VK Kawatra, principal, Hansraj College says, “Often, students coming in from other states and rural areas become the worst victims. They think that by submitting to ragging, they will gain acceptability in Delhi’s campus culture.”

“On our part, we have been making students sign anti-ragging oaths, putting up posters and conducting lectures. Raids are also conducted in hostels at night. We take all possible steps to keep our students safe, though, ultimately ‘they’ must understand that ragging is neither healthy nor fun.”

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