Saturday, July 29, 2006
The Mahatma Gandhi Gujarat Vidyapeeth is currently in the eye of an unsavoury storm.
A group of first year microbiology students at the Sadra Centre were allegedly stripped, oil was put on their backs and they were branded like cattle with a few senior students putting their signatures on them.
The incident is a first in the 85-year history of the Vidyapeeth, and although the authorities admit that such an incident did take place, they prefer not to call it ragging but insisted that it was a shameful act of mischief.
Moreover, they suggest that it's time for some introspection for the institute.
"It's a serious issue and a call for self introspection that even after two years, we weren't able to inculcate Gandhian values in these errant students," said Sudarshan Ayengar, Vice Chancellor, Mahatma Gandhi Gujarat Vidyapeeth.
The Vidyapeeth has initiated action against the students involved in the incident. As punishment, they are now required to do community work for an hour each day for a year, including working at a gobar gas project.
The incident has strained relations between freshers and seniors, but the Gandhians are shocked.
"The incident clearly shows that the Vidyapeeth has digressed from Gandhian values and that there is an urgent need to restore those values," said Chinubhai Vaidya, a Gandhian.
Meanwhile, the Vidyapeeth officials have provided an interesting explanation regarding the incident.
"A senior student having some ailment had been advised a massage by the doctor, and his room partner used to help him in that. This year some freshers were roped in by the senior for this, and this later triggered the mischief," said Rajendra Khimani, Registrar, Mahatma Gandhi Gujarat Vidyapeeth.
Irrespective of the reasons behind the incident, one thing is sure that ragging at the Mahatma's own Vidyapeeth has badly dented the institution's image.