mid-day editorial: Ragging is just another word for bullying

Published: Dec 21, 2016, 07:47 IST | mid-day correspondent

A first year student of the Government Polytechnic College in Nattakom, Kerala has been hospitalised with kidney damage after he was brutally ragged by eight senior students

A first year student of the Government Polytechnic College in Nattakom, Kerala has been hospitalised with kidney damage after he was brutally ragged by eight senior students.

The ragging victim has been put on dialysis. There were other victims of ragging too, but he was most seriously injured. Reports say the ragging comprised making juniors drink liquor with harmful powder and then, subjecting them to brutally strenuous exercises like continuous push-ups. They were subjected to at least six hours of ragging.

Calling it mild ragging or ‘a little bit of fun’ is merely an attempt to justify what is pure and simple unnecessary harassment and, in most cases, utter humiliation. Ragging has always been justified as a way of breaking the ice with juniors or freshers and making them tough or inducting them to the institution. This is nothing but a load of hogwash. One does not need to humiliate others for bonding. It is more a show of power rather than any attempt at being friendly.

Those that inflict the ragging do not know the threshold of the victims they are targeting. Some may be able to take it, others may be more fragile. Some students may get through the experience with a simmering discontent and bitterness that lingers. Others have broken and committed suicide in extreme cases.

The first step is for educational institutions to keep a close watch on ragging. The second is to create an avenue for juniors to be bold enough to complain. Thirdly, punishments should be extremely severe to act as an effective deterrent.

Ragging should have no part in the educational scene today. Stamp it out with determination and do not succumb to those who claim that ragging should be taken in the right spirit.

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