All of us come across numerous ragging incidents in colleges, especially in the medical colleges. It may be verbal abuse, sexual harassment, physical or mental torture and might also end up costing the student’s life. Ragging is not new to the students of medical colleges like MNR. In the name of ragging, students in MNR are forced to do sit-ups, their mobiles are taken away to kill their privacy, their tiffin boxes are eaten by the seniors, they are made to bunk classes and asked to dance in a vulgar fashion. They are also compelled to purchase text books for the seniors, give treats and get mobile recharges done in the name of financial ragging. Few are forced to consume alcohol and non-vegetarian food and sometimes even forced to strip.
When freshers enter the hostel, they enter a completely new world. Instead of hospitality, they get hostility. Ragging ranges from carrying seniors’ bags, completing their records to sexual abuse, which ultimately leads to countless suicides. The hostelers at the hostel in the college premises and even at local Sangareddy hostels are forced to stay up late at nights and are ragged by the seniors. Seema (name changed), a hosteler says, “The ragging may range from entertaining the seniors, writing their assignments, washing their clothes and even undergarments, to sexual favours”. The scenario of ragging is worse in the case of guys. They are forced to get drunk and also to stand naked in extreme cases. Few of the seniors involved in this kind of ragging are Khadar Ali Sheikh, Vidyut S, Naresh Reddy, Sai Reddy, Sukesh Kumar, Sunny Abraham, Alok, Bhupathi Raju, Goverdhan Gugloth, Shravan Nerella, Tukaram.
Most of the juniors are financially ragged in the hostels. They are made to purchase movie tickets, pay for drinks and give treats for the seniors. Ragging involves subjugating a junior. It is a kind of domination. Once a senior starts ragging they get addicted to it. One starts enjoying the feel of exercising so much control over someone else. The seniors basically get a license to befriend people they like and to abuse the ones who they dislike or don’t get along with.
Priya, (name changed), a day scholar says, ” I was asked to recharge my senior’s phone, but I refused. Initially I was ragged even more for refusing, but later on nobody did anything.” Whereas, Bhagyashree says, “I was made to purchase food from the canteen, almost daily and sometimes I was also asked to purchase textbooks for a senior named Manoj C, who never paid me the money for the books. I did that for quite a few days, but later when I saw my classmates refusing to do such things, I became bold and put an end to this.”
It is forgotten that the student getting ragged breaks down. It hurts that person’s self-esteem and shatters the faith in the institution or the society one lives in. They say ragging makes a person strong. But in this process of toughening we make them insensitive. Every individual differs at an emotional level. Some might take it as fun, while some may not even be able to handle such rude behavior. The college does have an anti-ragging squad, but hardly any cases of ragging are brought to their notice. Action on severe ragging incidents is taken and the ragger gets suspended or rusticated on the basis of the kind of ragging he is involved in.
The students who do not get ragged by the seniors or back answer their seniors are victims of offensive behavior. Khaleel, a BDS student was asked to pay 1000 rupees for attending the freshers party as he was involved in a fight with senior guys and never entertained them. Whereas Mahwesh Naaz was boycotted by the seniors for lodging a ragging complaint against one of their batchmates, who was suspended for a week. Similarly other juniors who do not obey the seniors are subject to mental torture and harassment.
What does ragging mean to the senior students of MNR Medical and Dental college? This is what some had to say:
Nehala Shareef says “It is a style of welcoming the freshers into a new administration. It’s okay as long as it doesn’t hurt a person physically or mentally.” ”Ragging upto a certain limit is good, but beyond it is risky and no fun,” as told by Alisha Merchant. Bhagyashree, a dental student says, “Ragging exposes you to the worst situations just to make you stronger in life.” Uday Kiran says, “It’s just an interaction between juniors and seniors, to make friends. Juniors should respect their seniors, but should not fear them”.
The freshers this year, who are used to ragging by now, differ in their opinion. Akhila Sagar, a fresher, says, “Ragging is a pain. It’s simply insane.” Hemanth Casula says, “Ragging is retaliation. It is all about treating the seniors like they treat us.” He wants to say to his seniors, “Rag not, we are gonna respect you. After all, a healthy interaction compensates ragging.” Akhila Manoja says, “Every college should have a complaint box, so that juniors can drop in their complaints without the fear of disclosing their identity.” Whereas Natasha Rohra and Joga Rao believe ragging is fun, exciting and an integral part of college memories.
The fresher is ragged in empty lecture halls, in the corridors, during lunch hours, in canteens and while travelling by college transport. By ragging a fresher, you make him comfortably numb. The fresher then compensates for it by ragging his juniors. And hence this vicious cycle goes on and becomes a tradition.
Upto what extent is ragging okay? This depends totally on the senior. Because the ragger is both the law, as well as the law maker. You cannot hurt someone’s feelings, put restrictions on someone or curb somebody’s freedom or humiliate him, in the disguise of making friends with him. It is upto us to decide what kind of ragging is mild. It is our choice at the end of the day to rag or not to rag. And it’s high time that the freshers stand up and fight back and lodge complaints against the inhuman treatment given to them in the name of ragging. After all, juniors are humans too!
More: Previously covered on Vidyouth – Chronicles of Ragging at MNR