India is a synonym for Athithi Devo Bhav (The guest is god.), but many seniors flout the age old tradition during every college admission season, June-August. They trouble rookies, who are not their subordinates. In fact rookies are guests. The guests definitely deserve a good treatment. Even subordinates qualify for respect and a fair treatment.
Ragging reveals the dark side of the seniors that they should have tamed by the time they matured to exercise the franchise. How can they forget a basic rule: No one behaves badly at least with a guest, especially a junior guest?
The seniors even do not bother to respect different anti-ragging legislations that have been enacted since end of 1990s (http://rkmvc.ac.in/antirag/TN%20Anti-ragging%20Act%201997.pdf). They catch hold of rookies and dictate the rookies to do whatever they want. It could be anything, including copying notes for seniors, washing seniors’ clothes, doing cabaret in front of seniors and addressing a senior as “sir.” Hostellers are the most vulnerable rookies during the season because they come in contact with the seniors almost around the clock.
In past, ragging also led to obscene activities in some cases and loss of young lives (murder and suicide) in a few cases. These rookie-senior interactions corrupt young minds and cause unwanted complexes. Can students with sick mentality lead the society and / or the country?
When the seniors set bad precedents, who should the juniors follow?
I really wonder why seniors enjoy sadistic pleasure. Is there no healthy way to interact with rookies or spend leisure? Who is responsible for the negative behavior and the habit of bullying?
The seniors commonly cite the following reasons to justify the behavior:
- They were also ragged in the same way or even the worst way.
- They enjoy sight of people in trouble and pain.
- Ragging is their right.
- As per social protocol, juniors should obey the seniors.
For me, neither of these reasons holds water. So, I tried to think about possible ways to escape ragging before joining the college in late 1980s and early 1990s when there were no ragging laws. In colleges, however, special committees carried out surprise checks on the rookies and the seniors to control ragging, but the menace did not subside.
I still remember that my “so called seniors” boycotted me because I ran away from the rooms where they tried to rag me during graduation (Delhi University) and post graduation (Kurukshetra University (KU)). They could not force me to do what they wanted. When I joined post graduation, one of the lecturers openly supported ragging: He argued that seniors were like elder brothers and sisters, so rookies should obey them. It was a shock!
The boycott did not affect me because I always believed in self-study, making my own notes and living an independent life. A few seniors shed their egos and became friendly with me later on. I would suggest that boycotting is better than being insulted and trying to be friends with the seniors who assaulted you physically and / or psychologically for the sake of fun. Follow the time-tested proverb, “You are the company you keep.”
There is another reason to oppose ragging with all might: One of the common ragging activities is getting notes made. This habit continues in work place. It is very common that bosses ask their juniors to ghostwrite reports and documents. Junior officers create the documents for fear that the boss would spoil their confidential reports (CRs), affecting the promotion chances.
This season say NO to ragging and take a small step towards a better tomorrow. In fact, every good education institute should promote self-reliance, ensure that every student should take notes to learn better and faster, and inculcate a habit of respecting everyone irrespective of caste, color, creed, gender, religion, social status etc.