It's the rage and an outrage
IT'S AROUND midnight. A young medical student is rudely awakened from his slumber and told to strip.
When he refuses, he is slapped around by seniors. Soon, the young man is on his knees and gradually gives in to horrific sexual demands.
One year down the line, he's hooked on anti-depressants, simultaneously battling sleeping disorder.
As ragging assumes dangerous overtones and the class bully gets more innovative, there is fear more than schoolboy excitement experienced by students entering the portals of a new college.
Some people would call it hazing, or to use an Eton word, "fagging." Ragging is a method of initiating the new entrants to college to the great world they are now a part of. It is a means of breaking the ice, and if done in the right spirit, it can be great fun too. From what was simply "time pass" and getting to know juniors, ragging across colleges in Bangalore is slowly becoming a more crude and dangerous form of sexual and physical harassment. The absence of effective mechanism to check ragging has only helped spread the menace to hitherto unviolated non-professional colleges.
A survey on ragging in a cross-section of colleges in Bangalore has revealed that sexual and physical harassment in the name of ragging is rampant in colleges and more so in non-professional colleges , shattering the common notion that ragging only prevails in professional ones. A rendezvous with few college students revealed a lot.
"Things that begin in a lighter vein eventually turn into something serious when done to extract vengeance," says Amit, a third-year engineering student.
"We are not averse to ragging if it is done in good humour. What is objectionable is when it leads to harassment and humiliation," says another student, Arti of Christ College .
In the girls' hostels of these colleges, ragging is confined to freshers being asked to stick to a weird dress code. A tri-coloured salwar, kurta and dupatta with oiled hair remains the attire during the first few months of the college year.
Ragging is carried in various ways from singing, dancing to chirpy Govinda's numbers, singing bhajans, and proposing to girls to quacking like a duck, sitting on an invisible chair and urinating on an electric board.
The "constructive brains" have not let down their research in this field to devise new and interesting manners of ragging.
Perturbed over all this, the University Grants Commission has asked State Governments and universities to take stern measures to put an end
to the ragging menace by making it a cognisable offence.
In response to the plea by various colleges and victimised students, the Karnataka Government issued a circular to all colleges to constitute anti-ragging committees, which has by and large been confined to paper.
While a minuscule number of professional colleges have abided by the guidelines which holds the Principals of colleges and wardens of hostels responsible if cases of ragging are reported from their institutions, the anti-ragging committees are virtually non-existent in degree colleges.
In some parts of India, students are known to have suffered mental breakdown and some had to abandon their academic career. However, in Karnataka, ragging is yet to raise its ugly head in the form of such horrendous incidents.
Despite repeated bans, ragging refuses to die. With constantly changing faces, its ugly side continues to rankle freshers year after year.
Student, Dept. of Mass Communication,
University of Mysore
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