2 Sep 2008, 0610 hrs IST, Karthika Gopalakrishnan, TNN
CHENNAI: Each ragging session ends up generating two kinds of contrasting emotions - it leaves the victim traumatised and gives perpetrators a
sense of perverse supremacy.
Psychiatrists say severe ragging can even disrupt the academic journey of a student.
"There is always a huge fear lurking at the back of students ' minds. If a student is severely ragged by his/her seniors, their first question is whether they need to continue studying in the same college. If they are, they will be in a dilemma about whether they need to inform the authorities," said Thabeus Alphonse, a counsellor from the department of neurology at the Voluntary Health Sevices Medical Centre.
Ragging, which had started off as a means for seniors to acquaint themselves well with the first-year students, slowly acquired a nasty edge during the mid-80 s, according to Dr R Sathianathan, director, Institute of Mental Health.
"I think ragging occurs more in professional colleges than in arts and science colleges because students of medicine, for instance, have to stay in the institution for nearly six-and-a-half years. Seniors feel like they have been in college
for a long time and so, tend to rag the juniors as they feel entitled to it," he added.
Dr Sathianathan said that 80% students were able to get over the incidents in a few days. But for the remaining 20% of vulnerable students, the consequences are severe.
According to statistics put up by CURE (Coalition to Uproot Ragging from Education), a non-profit organisation dedicated to the elimination of ragging, a total of 11 ragging-related deaths occurred from 2005 to early 2007. Sharing their experiences on the site, students have said they were subjected to physical, verbal or sexual forms of ragging.
"For the people who engage in ragging, it is a crude form of entertainment. Students who normally rag their juniors are either from dysfunctional families, have socially undesirable traits or were administered strong ragging themselves," Alphons said.
Both psychiatrists felt that the best way for students to cope with ragging would be to prepare themselves to face what was in store. "We tell students when they enter medical college that intelligence is not merely the ability to score marks but also the ability to adapt to a situation," Dr Sathianathan said.
Fear of ragging always lurks at the back of freshers' minds Ragging is more in professional colleges than in arts and science colleges 11 ragging-related deaths have taken place between 2005 and 2007 in India, according to nonprofit organisation CURE For people who engage in ragging, it is a crude form of entertainment.