Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Be ragged or else be damned?

When did we start seeing “ragging” as a part of college curriculum?

Is ragging necessary to mould a student?

I have heard students and teachers justify “ragging”. They say it helps a person to face the real world. Is it so? Will the scars of ragging ever fade? And sometimes the scars can be physical too as in this recent case in a reputed college in Coimbatore.

Another ragging incident jolts India
Sunday, 12.04.2009, 08:29am (GMT)
Kochi/Coimbatore : Ragging extends to be a threat in colleges despite severe stricture passed by the Supreme Court to ban it.

Another shocking incident has come to light this time in Tamil Nadu. The incident dates back to March 8, a day after the medical student buckled under to injuries inflicted by his seniors at a private-run institute in Himachal Pradesh.

A 19-year old fresher at the PSG College of Arts and Science in Coimbatore was ragged savagely, nearly losing his eye.

Akil Dev is now recouping at his home in Kochi, and has underwent two operations in the eyes so far.

New Delhi, Friday 13 March 2009:

In another shocking incident of a student being ragged in college, a girl student of an agriculture engineering college in Andhra’s Baptla town has attempted suicide. The 20-year-old student of the Government Agriculture Engineering College attempted suicide after allegedly being ragged and physically abused by her seniors.
Reports say that, the alleged victim was forced to strip and dance as part of ragging. Embarrassed by the entire episode, she consumed a hairdye solution and collapsed. Some reports also state that it may have been pesticides that she consumed.

The meaning of Ragging:

- to scold somebody persistently or vehemently
- to subject somebody to persistent teasing or taunting

Yes, it is taunting as a start and those who resist the taunting are then subjected to torture.

I remember my hostel days in Trivandrum where one student in our batch was caught ragging her juniors. The punishment that was meted out was for the whole batch and I still remember standing in the open area in the middle of the hostel and writing imposition. We did try to have a little fun out of it, but none of us ever wanted to rag. And none of my friends ever found ragging fun and I don’t remember being ragged. But the scene has changed over the recent years and now students are scared to join some colleges in fear of ragging. I have heard it myself from parents and students. Some parents were forced to seek admission in “safer” colleges for their wards after having paid the fees and when the wards refused to continue. Some students eventually lose a year for this sake. Do we call these students “chicken hearted”? I do not think so. Even if a student end up being a total “nerd” for not having interacted normally with the students, I guess it would be fine than scarring him/her permanently. And our world does need such students too.

I was relieved to find this on the web:




  1. Very serious issue. I sometimes dread for our children.

  2. Ragging at a small dose(with in the limit) is fun. Because it will help juniors to get friendly with seniors and all.But if it cross the limit, then it should be definitely condemned and punished severely.The recent incident happened in Coimbatore,new Delhi and kottyam are really disturbing.The only solution for this is college authorities should take strict action like dismissing those students from college or not let them write examination.then only these beast's will learn a lesson

  3. Ragging is a blot that is getting more and more unacceptable as the society becomes increasingly violent. This is perhaps on of the many bad British traditions that we have kept even as we have discarded the better ones.

    Perhaps some sort of exemplary punishment to the parents of the "raggers", and the management of the college is the only way to root this menace out once and for all.

  4. Indrani: Yes it is a serious issue; more so since people have started accepting it as normal!

    Anish: Maybe then we should not call it "ragging"... one can get to know Juniors in many other ways...Yes it needs to be punished severely; else today's victim will be tomorrow's perpetrator.

  5. Vinod: yes I agree that the one reason could be that the society is becoming more violent and another since punishment is selective. The ones with political connections gets off the hook easily.

    As for following British tradition, I do not think "ragging" is a British legacy. It has more to do with the general lawlessness in our society.

  6. Happy Kitten, It is such a serious issue, isn't it? And when we say that 'ragging' of a mild form is fine, the danger is that it is very difficult to contain. You can never be sure when it will exceed limits and scar a person - a psychological scar is as bad as a physical one..
    I think college managements need to be serious about tackling this...

  7. during our college days, it was quite terrible. I remember being 'really' ragged. that was the last year of ragging

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    Would love to see your take and do leave me a coment once you're done - Thanks!

  9. Maddy: so this ragging has been going on since ages... nd what could be the reason?

  10. it started as a copycat version of ragging in British private schools, and as a way of initiation for new entrants. only thing was that it went beyond bounds and those seniors with a massive inferiority complex took it out on the poor newcomers.

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