Wednesday, August 08, 2007

[Yahoo] IIT-Delhi comes up with a definition for ragging

* Ragging is an act of aggression.
* Ragging is not harmless fun.
* Ragging does not increase smartness or makes a person bold.

IF YOU thought these are mere customary statements on the offence, consider this: swear words are no longer cool and addressing seniors as 'sir' or 'ma'am' can be comfortably dispensed with even if one is a fresher.

In a novel approach to ragging, the Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi (IIT-D) has, for the first time ever, not only defined what constitutes the offence but also changed the way it has dealt with it so far.

And, in order to elicit proactive response from the freshers, the administration has also exhorted them to report the incident instead of the usual notices that ask seniors not to rag.

Categorising the offence, IIT-D has listed any 'forced activity' or 'lifestyle restrictions' on freshers as "ragging", like restricting access to parts of the hostel or being "over-enthusiastic about making freshers participate in extra-curricular activities".

Forms of interaction where seniors manipulate conversation to "humiliate" a fresher or "make him/her feel stupid or insecure or generally threatened" have also been defined as 'conversational mind-games' that would constitute ragging.

Even asking someone to sing, dance or perform, or cheering loudly will translate to the offence as well. "These activities may appear simple but most often, they affect freshers. We have tried to get down to even the minutest details so that there is no confusion on what constitutes ragging," said Prof Anurag Sharma, Dean of Students.

The institute has also acknowledged the impact the offence can have on the victim, in its first-ever compilation of activities under the offence: "It forces an individual to accept subjugation and conform; perhaps even rationalise it later. This loss of individuality suppresses talent and reduces self-worth."

Apart from a security control room on campus where students can inform harassment, a special anti-ragging website has also been created to enable freshers to lodge anonymous complaints.

The Dean of Students office has also introduced a mentor scheme."Under the scheme, freshers would be guided by second and third year students during initial days. It helps develop a bond between them and also makes seniors feel more responsible," Prof Sharma says.

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