Wednesday, 10 October 2007

An Alternative to Ragging

While I was researching the article on ragging that I published yesterday, I came across this website dedicated to end ragging. Some of the first-hand accounts included are truly appalling--several authors have refused to reveal their names. And no wonder--after the invasion of personal space and the humiliation that they had to go through as a part of "good, clean fun," anyone would shy away from revealing their names.

What is apparent immediately from the accounts of ragging furnished by victims is that a lot of it is sexual in nature--there are stories of LSR hostellers being asked to make love to a pillow, pretending it is their boyfriend or freshers in mens'-only hostels being asked to enact homosexual love scenes, playing the passive partner. I've also heard of the son of a family friend suffering a nervous breakdown after one such session. Of course, we Indians have a troubled relationship with sexuality--we've been brought up on Victorian hypocrisy and cannot talk openly and honestly about many things. So sexuality becomes another weapon with which to beat someone weaker or younger.

Instead of relating in such adverserial and harmful ways to ones' juniors, why don't students' unions set up orientation committees, to enable freshers new to the city and the campus to fit in with student life in a college or university? This will enable the union and senior students to play a positive role in the lives of their juniors. This is a policy that should be followed in hostels also.

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I work as a freelance editor and writer in New Delhi. 


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