A fresh under-graduate student, just out of the crowded clasrooms of Intermediate in corporate institutions, may be excited to join an Engineering college and start a new chapter of his or her life, but for one niggling recurring thought – Ragging. For all the anti-ragging measures taken by the college mangement and all the claims made by the police and the government, the truth is that ragging does exist. VidYouth investigates to what extent ragging takes place in colleges in and around Hyderabad. For all of you, who don’t still know what ragging is, here is what Wikipedia says, “Ragging is a form of abuse on newcomers to an educational institutions. It is almost similar to the Western form, known as hazing, but is commonly much more severe. Some senior students force the unorganized newcomers to undergo several forms of mental, physical and sexual abuses. The juniors are usually too frightened to resist their organized group of tormentors”.
Among the colleges we investigated, this is all about MVSR Engineering College i.e., Maturi Venkata Subba Rao Engineering College. It was founded in 1981 with three disciplines. Over the years it has grown from strength to strength and is a premier technical institute in Andhra Pradesh. The total student strength at present is over 2300. The truth is with such large student body there is bound to be incidents of ragging and our investigations have confirmed the fact.
MVSR has been around for over 25 years and in its history, there have been no suicides related to ragging. The incidents are minor and the ragging looks to be serious but it’s just fun. VY went around the college and interviewed some juniors and seniors regarding ragging and here is what we found out. On being asked that if the ragging they had undergone was serious or if they were subjected to any abuse by their seniors, a student had this to quote, “No. I was never ragged severely… It was just funny ragging”. When asked what is funny ragging .The student a second yearite now, said that he and his friends were made to remove their shoes and socks and all the socks were thrown in a bundle and were made to wear any two that came to their hands first. They had a lot of fun doing it and the seniors were pretty chilled out and were not at all scary as they were supposed to be. Joy Daniel says, “A group of fourth yearites, ECE branch led by Dharneesh and Samanth made me laugh to bits while being ragged. They made a group of juniors stand in a circle and a guy who did not speak telugu in the midlle and made him sing a telugu song while the other guys were made to pitch in with various sound effects.This probably was the most hilarious experience I ever had”. Of the 22 people interviewed here, almost all had a pleasant experience to share and had enjoyed their interaction with the seniors. Few of them did have hard feelings and were ragged a little more than the others because they now realized that they had shown ‘Attitude’, as termed by seniors.
Attitude, according to seniors means juniors not complying with the seniors’ demands and resisting or thinking that they cannot be ragged.There are some juniors who think they are untouchable and thats when trouble starts and a senior is forced rag a junior as it casts a doubt on the seniors’ ‘izzat’ says Bharat a fourth yearite. Showing anything of this so called attitude is an open invitation to attract all seniors to rag you a little more when all you would have gotten away with was a simple song and dance number. As a female student puts it, “I was asked by a couple of girl-seniors, why I was wearing bangles. I told them I wore them because I liked wearing them. Now, they were annoyed. (No reason. Or maybe they were just acting like they were annoyed). This was attitude according to them and they told me that they’ll make life in college impossible for me. Two years down, we got to be real good friends. If I’d manage to remember some good days from my college life, those days would certainly be a part of it”. This happens in most cases if you show attitude in MVSR. One does get ragged more but they end up being friends with seniors. “I am friends with all the people who ragged me and they have been such a comfort in the otherwise boring mundane college life”, says Dhanamjai a third yearite. A second year student recollects that he had back answered to some seniors and was made to say the filthiest bad words and write them down in his book. He did not mind that at all and had fun while inventing new filthy words. Those seniors are good friends of his now.
Well all places have exceptions, there are incidents when things have gone a little out of hand and there are cases of juniors ending up fighting with seniors and also seniors getting a little too aggressive. Abhay Singhania (name changed) recalls an incident where a senior was trying to show off in front of girls by taking ragging a little too seriously and was bashed up by the junior for crossing the limits and this later resulted in a full scale fight with both the affected parties resorting to outside help to settle scores ultimately it involved a showdown outside the college premises which was resolved with breaking of car windows and a lot of bones. Abhay doesn’t want to elaborate much because of his close involvement in the fight. Suharsh recalls a recent incident that happened, where a second yearite was involved in a fight with the seniors from fourth year during the college cultural fest ‘SANGAMAM’ and the matter was resolved with the help of police. According to him the fight between a second year IT student and fourth year Civil student was ego related. The civil fourth yearite brought some outsiders to the college and beat up the second yearite but as there were outsiders and the police were stationed as a precautionary measure in advance the fight was stopped almost immediately by those outsiders getting thrashed and sent to jail. Although bashing up seniors is not a great idea if you are a junior, there are such rare cases.
MVSR campus connect team believes that it is important for a junior to know what the limits of ragging are so that they can say ‘No’ when those boundaries are being crossed. Commendable job is being done in this regard by the team and all juniors are shown videos that educate them about ragging and also teach them that when they become seniors it’s bad to rag their juniors. This has resulted in reduced ragging incidents and juniors are surprised and rather shocked about the less attention they receive. As one first yearite puts it, “I haven’t been ragged at all by my seniors and I’m into second year already, never expected this would happen! We walk past seniors and they don’t even think that we exist”. We did find that ragging does not hold any interest to most of the seniors as they are busy with their own work. The average senior will at most ask for ‘BD’ i.e., bio data; make you sing a song or give you his notes to write or records to complete and that is something most juniors are ready to do. The MCC team does not believe in discrimination between the years and its evident from their recruitment policy as all are selected on merit and not on their seniority level. They are also given positions according to their capabilities and not on a seniors whim or fancy. All have to go through a screening process and a group discussion to get selected. These facts are evident from the point that there are 32 first years in the Mcc cabinet. Thus if you are a first yearite in this college you have equal opportunities like your seniors.
There are certain ragging hot spots in all colleges. VY spoke to some seniors in this regard. The ragging zones as Joe, a senior puts it, are the parking lot, the basketball court and the cricket grounds. All these lie within the campus and the lecturers are never that far away and even though the ragging might be minimal, the punishment is maximum if caught. There are other ragging addas like the famous Nadergul Cheruvu, where there is no one around for miles. “I was taken to this place and made to act out a lot of stuff including the legendary basketball dance that the basketball team is so fond of making juniors do. The basketball dance means a Junior, who plays basketball would be made to do all the moves that he does off the court and that to the evergreen Teen maar. All the dribbles, fakes shoots and hoops are included in this dance. I had the time of my life as no one but the seniors and my friends were around to see it”, says Joe. The other places where juniors could possibly get ragged outside the college are at the bus-stop outside the college and if they are unlucky enough some buffaloes would get to see their worst dance moves and bear their singing in Nadergul village. Ragging also exists in the college buses, but it’s the mildest form of ragging as there are lecturers in the bus. Hence the seniors rarely get carried away.
Please don’t let down your guard just yet as there are some people in the college, who are really infamous they have been around the college for more than 5 years and have no other job but to terrorize the juniors and ask them for the infamous ‘Party’, which supplies them with their daily fix of smokes and booze. Chain Rakesh and Pichha Nikhil are a few to name, who belong to such categories, they are prone to ending up drunk at all college fests and are known to pick up fights with anyone. Rahul Sharma (Name changed) says that he and his friend Rohit were made to give a beer party to his seniors as they were Management quota students and they had to shell out 1000 bucks between them to satisfy their seniors demands. Their friend Harish did not oblige the seniors and was ragged more than the others but he was lucky that things did not get out of hand. “Now we have no respect for them anymore and don’t even acknowledge their presence”, they say. “The student security teams at all events take care that no one is ragged and such chronic trouble makers are kept in constant surveillance by a group of students”, says a student coordinator. Also some last remnants of the legendary dreaded ‘Eagles Gang’ still exist that are known to terrorize juniors by scaring the shit out of them. Eagles gang was so popular for their violence and aggressive tactics five years back that the hit Telugu movie ‘Sye’ is rumoured to be be filmed on them. It is sort of an urban legend within the college premises. This gang no longer exists and all the members have moved on in life. Some fakers claim to be members of this gang and get away with serious cases of ragging. Students say that sometimes these people don’t even belong to the college. There have been instances of juniors coming in autos being stopped and taken to places away from the college to be ragged.
Most of the other seniors, when they see a junior in trouble, they do try to bail them out of such sticky situations but if something serious does happen, there is no need to be scared. The college has an entourage of security guards, who will bail juniors out of such situations. The survey done by VY shows that there is an active anti-ragging committee in the college.This committee consist of staff and anonymous student members, who are selected by the staff to check on the ragging. This team changes every year and the present details are not available so far. The website will be updated as soon as we come to know about it. Meanwhile if you have any queries regarding ragging you can mail in at firstname.lastname@example.org . Santosh tells us, “The in charge of physical training, Mr.Arjuman, was actively involved in controlling ragging”. There are other precautions also taken by the management to avoid ragging. Pratyush tells us, “The senior students were not allowed to linger around near the 1st year block. Also a list of punishments was displayed in noticeable spots like the canteen and first year block”.
Ragging in MVSR like any other college, exists but it’s not as severe as in many other colleges mainly due to the active involvement of the senior students themselves in educating juniors against ragging and also because of a strong bond between juniors and seniors. It is common to see groups of students hanging out which comprise of students from first to fourth year. The events of the college are organized by student volunteers from all years and this paves way for a better college atmosphere. Ragging here is truly what it should be, “an introduction of seniors and juniors for a better future”.
Ragging is a social evil that exists in the colleges all over the country. It takes all forms from mild to severe. It is important for a junior to realise that ragging is not a seniors right and he has every right to say no to it. In MVSR this thought is reinforced. But if you do face severe ragging, the MVSR campus connect team runs a RAG-AWARE campaign for all juniors wherein they are educated about ragging and also where they can make complaints and air their thoughts by email. All the complaints are brought to the notice of the college management.
The link to the website is given: http://www.mvsrcampusconnect.org/
VY hopes that your journey towards your future remains pleasant!