mid-day editorial: Don't bully; it's the coward's way out

Dec 22, 2017, 06:08 IST | mid-day correspondent

Three weeks have passed since a bright 20-year-old IITian from Badlapur went missing from his hostel in IIT Kanpur, but the police still have no clue what happened to him

Three weeks have passed since a bright 20-year-old IITian from Badlapur went missing from his hostel in IIT Kanpur, but the police still have no clue what happened to him. His father suspects his disappearance is connected to ragging - despite his brilliance, the youth was allegedly taunted mercilessly over his diction and looks.

This paper has reported on how his father is desperately looking for the young man, who was supposed to return home for the semester break, but never made it to Mumbai. The last time he visited home in July, he had seemed happy, although it appears that this was merely a veneer for a traumatised mind. His father did have an inkling that the taunts and teasing were affecting his son, but nobody knows for sure what happened.

The institution needs to take a hard look at ragging and have a non-negotiable policy against students who indulge in verbal and physical bullying. Many students and, shockingly, teachers too believe that ragging is 'institutionalised behaviour' that is part and parcel of college life. That belief must be broken. One does not need to rag or be ragged to fit in. Ragging does not make the victim tough. Instead it may make him bitter, vengeful, and unforgiving. It may have an adverse effect on his academic performance.

Ragging gives rise to phobias; it is humiliating and has tremendous ramifications stretching well into adulthood. Students who are being ragged must have recourse to an effective avenue for registering complaints. Counselling should be offered to these young adults. There is no pride in ragging and earning some cheap chuckles from cronies. Take the bragging out from ragging. Reinforce the message: Bullying and ragging is the recourse of cowards.

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