The country is up in arms over two separate ragging incidents that left one teenager dead and another in hospital after a failed suicide attempt.
We invited our readers to comment on ragging in colleges -- in the second part of this series, we publish a few more stories and opinions:
Here is my ragging experienceIt was my first day of college (engineering). While coming back from the college in the evening, m seniors caught me in the bus -- they were a group of five boys and four girls and one of the seniors stays in our colony only, though i don't know her that well. At first it was okay, they asked us to sing and tell some jokes and do the engineering salute.
Later (after 3-4 weeks) it crossed the limits (one week after this, they arranged freshers party for us). One Friday evening my seniors caught me and my friend (he is a hosteler) and took us to the hostel. I was forced to call my home and inform them that I won't be coming home in the night. Later, some 3-4 seniors took me and my friend to the nearby village where one of the seniors stays. There, 3 of the senior girls came with some ladies' costumes and makeup kit.
They ragged us for one hour and told us that for the freshers party we (me and my friend) need to perform a dance, in which one of us will have to do the female role. Initially they gave me and my friend the option of choosing our roles. But we were not interested in doing the female role, so we opposed the seniors. Initially they told us nicely, but after 2-3 minutes they started beating us and finally they came to the conclusion that they will take the name on a lottery basis and whose name will come first, he has to do the female role. To my bad luck, my name came.
So I had to obey -- at first I tried to escape from there, but the door was locked and after 45 minutes i got tired (as it was already 11 in the night). My senior girls took me into a room and dressed me like a girl and the process took nearly 2 hours. At 1 in the night, they made me and my friend dance to a Hindi song for nearly 1 hour and they took so many snaps, warning us that they would send the photos to everyone if we told anybody about it. Even the girl from my colony told me that she will give those photos to my family if I told anybody about it. I think I still have that photo with me. I have to search for it, I will send that also if I find it.
After that, we didn't perform on Freshers' Day. This came as a big relief for me. But ragging helped me in getting closer to my seniors, who guided me and many of my friends during placements and exams.
But this is the worst kind of experience I had during my ragging. Being dressed as a girl and dancing with a boy in front of seniors is the worst thing. It was a big nightmare for me.
It's already been 3 years since I passed out from college. At that time I was very angry about all this, but when my friend reminds me of it, it sounds funny now.I thank rediff for giving me an opportunity to post this.
-- Sashidhar, 24, Warangal, AP
I was a top student during my 14 years in school. Rather, one of the best students produced by my school ever. Always loved studies. Physics, chemistry and maths were my life.
After Class 12, I got admission to an engineering college named NC College of Engineering (Israna) Panipat, Haryana.
As my hometown was quite a distance away, I availed of the hostel facility on the college campus. I was very enthusiastic and ready to work hard, study more to become a good engineer.
BUT SEE WHAT RAGGING DID TO ME. I became a drop-out, failed in every semester and was not able to complete my graduation. I started hating studies so much that I burned my engineering books and started praying to God that God, please give me one chance, I will burn this college to ashes.Starting from day one I was abused, made to move around in the corridor naked, clean rooms of my seniors and after that recieved their beating etc and many other unshareable things.
Why should a 17-year-old young boy accept this? Because he does not want to put his parents to the trouble of making rounds to the college. Because he wants to do something with his life. Because he feels that after nights of fear, a day of light will come when these things will be over and then he will complete his responsibility of studying hard.But before this could happen the scars of humiliations and pain became so deep and large that they back tracked from healing. Fear entrapped me so badly that I used to feel, while studying in my room, that some one is behind the door. In class I was not able to focus on lectures because my mind used to worry about what will happen today when I reach my hostel room.
I was not able to complete assignments because I did not have proper books and notes, as I was afraid to go out of the hostel due to the fear of seniors seeing me on my way from the hostel to the college gate.THE RESULT -- failure after failure in all exams and the backlog turned so heavy that I reached a situation where even being a bright student, I live in this world with the stigma of being an under graduate. I'm not able to open any other book because books bring back my memories of ragging.
TODAY I am fine and doing well in my business due to the moral support of my parents, but still I do not want to laugh (when ever I do I know it is fake), I do not want to party or enjoy my life, I do not want to mingle with people, I do not want to talk to my school mates who are doctors and engineers because somewhere inside me I keep crying, every day every minute and keep asking myself why I'm not an engineer.
-- Vikas Kannan*
I am a fourth year student of marine engineering at Tolani Maritime Institute, Talegaon. Being a maritime training college, here the disciplinary standards are very high, ranging from uniforms to physical conditioning. There isn't any ragging in our college, but when I was in first year, I found out that seniors here have an authority over juniors. Here, the official decorum is that a first year fresher must wish all seniors and all seniors must be addressed as 'sir' or 'ma'am'.
-- Kartik Mohan, 23, Pune
Hi,I am a BE and an MBA grad. I too went through the illusionary world of ragging. But I can say what I learned during that period helped me a lot through my career. Like any other individual I had doubt and fear towards ragging when I joined engineering. But things went smooth, say thanks to some of my seniors who apart from ragging me, helped me to understand the basic objective of ragging. I too went through story-telling to trees, running around college to complete some task given by seniors, standing on one leg in the library or college canteen, proposing to senior girls and even stripping in hostel rooms and being slapped. Being a techie, I always loved the brainstorming puzzles based on calculus, obviously conceptualised by some geeks as a way of ragging.
Ragging brings into you creativity, removes your shyness and your introvert attitude and helps you know more about yourself.
But the most important thing I liked was the counselling from my seniors after being ragged to overcome the mental trauma of being ragged. I won't say all seniors are good, but I am lucky to have had some good seniors who in a true sense, continued the saga of ragging.
What I learned is what and when to talk when you are among a group who is senior to you, very important in corporate culture. Respect for an individual whosoever he/she may be, from an office boy level to the top management.
As long as it is in the spirit of good and clean fun, it's good. But today some people have changed the true meaning of ragging by indulging in violent, brutal or inhuman physical abuse claiming the lives of youngsters who had a dream to come up in life. It's now become a fear which has made it worse.
A request to seniors -- they should not rag their juniors as revenge for what they have gone through during their days. I feel ragging is a part of our college curriculum -- the only difference is, it's not recognised as an official subject, so make it learning and fun. It's your responsibility to impart some learning to juniors and to continue the legacy. And juniors, don't develop a fear of ragging. Not all people are the same and there are a few good ones around. And don't lose youself, open up to your parents, as they are your best friends in life. From my own experience I am telling you this.Enjoy life, because this is the only one you got and there's a lot more to do and achieve.
-- Vishal Gupta, 26, IT business consultant, Chennai
Hello, I am a final year student of a prestigious engineering college in our country. I was ragged for a good one and a half semesters in my first year. But whenever I look back I feel it made me a better man. It stopped whatever whining tendencies I might have had, it helped me understand exactly how to behave in an extremely bureaucratic and autocratic environment which college administrations tend to have. It brought me closer to my seniors, people who are doing great things and are a constant help even today, whether it's how to approach a CAT interview or which company I should be looking to get placed in.
Now the main argument is that all this should be possible even without ragging. That seniors should help out of pure good intentions and that ragging is really not required.
In my senior years, college rules are much stricter and ragging is almost absent in my college. But the college has gone to the extent that first year students cannot be part of any college or club activities. They have their own compound. You rarely see a fresher outside. So our relationship with them is non-existent. Also, the kind of exposure to activities that our juniors get is drastically reduced. It directly harms their development in senior years. While I don't encourage ragging to be the way out of this kind of a situation, I feel the college should be careful when it puts restrictions on both seniors and juniors. It directly affects what value addition a student is able to get out of an engineering college. Because frankly, engineering is not the only thing we are here to do for four years.
-- Akshay Vidwans
*Name changed to protect privacy.
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