Tuesday, July 15, 2008

[IndiaEduNews] Ragging - The first social encounter at college

July 14, 2008

New Delhi: Come mid July and all the universities and colleges across the country will be agog with excitement. With the commencement of the new academic session, students look forward to serious academics, besides receiving the freshers in their midst.

That is where the phenomenon called ragging comes into the picture.

The Central Government may have banned ragging, in all forms, in all educational institutions; freshers however, take ragging as a means of interaction with their seniors and vice-versa.

The word ragging, according to the Oxford Dictionary, means fund raising programme of stunts, parades, and entertainment organized by students. That is how it is done in most of the western universities, from which, incidentally, we Indians have borrowed and adapted what is known as college ragging.

Ragging has become an annual 'tradition' in which the victims are solely the freshers.

This ritual is more of 'tradition' and gets its strength from the fact that those ragged in the first year see to it that they have their revenge next year when they are in the 'driver's seat'.

Ragging gains its justification from the fact that it 'breaks the ice' between the seniors and the freshers. It is basically envisaged to be some kind of 'interaction', they say. But interaction is a two-sided affair where both the sides put forth something about each other.

Contrary to this, here the only one who tells anything about himself/herself is the fresher, that too in a way, which his senior will like.

It is also considered a grow-up tonic by the raggers, which is a must for the freshers as they stand on the threshold of a new world.

Many individuals generally confuse ragging with bullying. It must be made absolutely clear that ragging is not bullying. The differences are subtle but well defined. Ragging has a large number of people involved in it and is quite prevalent, though it is not so with bullying.

Tips for freshers:

- Do not dress snazzily, it will catch attention.

- Keep a low profile.

- Move about in groups. If the seniors catch a few of you together, you will not be too nervous.

- If things go out of bounds, report to the authorities. Remember law prohibits ragging.

Tips for the seniors:

- Originally ragging was meant to be form of social interaction, light hearted way to meet the freshers and to get acquainted with them. Make an effort to adhere to this ideology.

- The freshers are by and large a timid lot. You ought to try and make them comfortable instead of enhancing their fears and apprehensions.

- Light banter, jokes, teasing, innocent but foolish acts etc are fair enough but avoid physical violence at any level (in any degree) whatsoever.

- Similarly do not force the youngsters to do things that have clear cut sexual overtones. Enjoyment is a must but it must be utterly devoid of vulgarity.

- Treat the youngsters with kindness car and sympathy, so that they are encouraged to look up to you, instead of hating you or avoiding you throughout the academic session.

Remember!! The Central Government has said, "We intend to abolish the practice of ragging and/or harassment from all Colleges and Institutions, in an effort to clean up the social stigma that it causes. In no other country's education institutions ragging takes place except in India. We intend to introduce stricter laws against ragging. Our objective is to make the campus areas free from any social injustice, mental, physical and/or sexual harassment that thousands of students face each year during their first few months in college. The enactment of the 'Prevention of Ragging in Colleges and Institutions Bill, 2005' would see the decline and finally abolition of ragging on campus areas."

A happy College Life to all students!!!

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