It's tough to be a senior from this session at Panjab University. Try asking juniors to call you 'Sir', and chances are you would land in a soup, thanks to the new anti-ragging rules - and that soup could well be suspension and rustication, in extreme cases.
In an attempt to adopt a no-nonsense attitude to ragging, PU authorities have clamped down on even "lighter" forms of ragging like asking freshers to copy class notes, running errands and performing such chores. The anti-ragging notice from the office of Dean Students Welfare (DSW) Prof Nirmal Singh and DSW (Women) Dr Meenakshi Malhotra also includes more serious forms of ragging like showing pornographic pictures to freshers, asking vulgar questions, forcing them to drink alcohol, causing physical injury et al. Stripping, kissing and other obscenities can, of course, also invite punishment.
''Day scholars are not main target of ragging; the hostellers are made to go through the real ragging. So more than the departments, it is the hostels that need to be watched,'' said Sukhdeep Singh, a MA-II student at PU.
But students said despite the clampdown, lighter form of "introductory" ragging still continues on the campus; and not many, in fact, have much objection to that. But what begins as light-hearted baiting and teasing takes vulgar or obscene overtones in the hostels, and that's where the authorities need to step in, students said. For, oftener than not juniors do not want to invite further trouble by making formal complaints. ''Innocuous forms of ragging definitely continue, but even when 'serious' forms of ragging occur, not many want to go to the DSW's office and complain about till a point," campus student Swati Khanna said.