Friday, October 12, 2007
MANTASHA BIN RASHID
I asked, “is it your uniform ? “, when I saw some dumb looking guys coming out of The National Institute of Technology (NIT), Hazratbal, while I was waiting for a bus. I spotted a bunch of students who were juniors to me in the school. Today they appeared very awkward by their very behaviour. I went forth and picked up a friendly chat. They said , “It is no less than a hell inside. From day-one only we are given the set of instructions....Plaited trousers, black school shoes, plain shirt, army cut (one inch hair ), no bags.....either carry your books in a poly bag or in your hand “. We are told to suffocate ourselves by fastening even the collar button of our shirts, one among them said. The other added , “We are made to walk with our heads bowed down as if sinners or some outcasts and to top it all we have to greet every damn senior every damn time we see him “. They said that they walk in to the college surreptitiously like thieves and select the most isolated path to their classroom, so that they are not spotted by the seniors and put to an unjust treatment.
But that is oppression, I thought .” How can you bear that? Why don’t you complain against it ? “To that, one of them smirked saying that the college people have their wonderful bundle of rules. He said , “on the day of my counseling I discovered on the notice board , in there , a notice which read....’ The guy namely this, class this, roll number this was found being harsh and unkind to this and this fresher, therefore his ten E.C marks are deducted”. He said that he was elated, heaved a sigh of relief but today only he came to know that E.C means “extra co-curricular activities” and of course, those marks count nowhere !!!
Finally I spotted a bus coming and stepped in. Their disturbed moods irked me. I said to myself, if in an institute for higher education such mindless acts take place, what is expected of uneducated people? Their saying that they are greeted with third class abuses and teases, because of which a weak hearted friend of theirs decided to quit the course, even after depositing the fee for it, sprang anger in me. I could not believe myself. If educated youth behave so vulgarly, then what purpose does education serve, except for being a license to a job.
I was lost in these thoughts and one more memory stuck in. There is this friend of mine who qualified JKCET and got an admission in the very famous medical college , Srinagar. The other day, she broke down on a senior guy’s remarks who had told her that there is no need to wear a head-gear (scarf) when tomorrow she would elope with someone. How indecent a remark and much poorer the mindset that made him talk such for a person whom he never saw before ! Invasion of liberty, curbing of independence, subjugation, mental torture....we just have a word to define this torture.
My disturbed mind recalled a number of disgusting remarks and provocative words, related to me by my friends in various colleges and the university also. I very well remember that my next door neighbour, who studies in an engineering college, here in the valley, was admitted in hospital after he tried to protest against stripping off his friend on their college campus. Pity. Sheer pity!! We are the people who talk of wrong politics, corruption, our rights as humans; as students, but when we are given a flash of power we become wild beasts! How could the same students turn so hostile to the newcomers, when once...say a year or two back they were standing in their shoes or may be it is just exacting revenge on the poor juniors of what was done to them, some time back.
The whole concept of ragging is inhuman and the worst example of madness in the young community. The same idea of interacting with freshers can be made friendly, hospitable and kind and I believe, that is what humans stand for and should always stand for. When we can’t put off this portrayal of violence and hostility in our lives, how can we dare dream of a better society or a beautiful world?
The bus rattled to last stop for a halt and I realised that I had gone very far in my thoughts and got down from the bus, made a U-turn on my shank’s pony, thanking God that I study in a less famous academic college not in the one famous for this infamous act of ragging.