Does Ragging still exist?
Recently a horrific video clip doing the rounds on WhatsApp brought the ‘ghost of ragging’ out of the closet. The incident had taken place in a prominent school in Bihar. The culprits, two brothers, allegedly had links with gangsters. Though this happened in September the news surfaced two days ago.
(The video shows two boys in school uniform pushing and ruthlessly thrashing their classmate in the classroom in the presence of other students).
How is it in Goa?
Goa had reported incidents of ‘ragging’ in the past. On interviewing a student, a former victim of the menace brought to light the unreported ragging cases that still exist.
‘Raju’ (name changed), studied civil engineering in one of Goa’s reputed engineering colleges in the year 2011. On his first year, as a fresher, he fell prey to ragging.
“I was made to stand on a table in a packed room of seniors, and read out a sheet containing my bio-data over and over several times till I was able to read the whole sheet without an error”.
Raju informed us that it took him two hours to get it right through nervousness. He told us that he had to then sing a song while trying to solve a mathematical problem that had no solution. Further, he recounted how he knew he was solving a fake and yet had no choice but to continue solving it. Because they kept sending him back to solve it. This lasted for several hours. Till they finally lost patience and told him that it had no solution. The seniors then made him recite a vulgar slogan, which he could not repeat out of embarrassment.
‘Raju’, had a friend as a senior and therefore the treatment meted out to him was considerably mild. “Of course, the friend was not present at the time of the incident.”
Further, he recounts, “another male student was made to run at 3 am on the ‘infinity ground’ in the dark singing a vulgar slogan”. “This ground”, he explained, “extended into the forest area, extremely scary in the dark”. (I’m sure he was holding back the sordid details in embarrassment).
He said that most of the culprits are senior toppers in their respective fields. Therefore the colleges cannot raise a finger at them.
In another incident, another x-student, a friend, ‘James’, (name changed), having passed out of engineering in Goa, around the year 1999 / 2000, mentioned how as a fresher he had to dance naked in front of the seniors.
‘Pat’, (name changed), had a different experience. His was more intellectual. He was made to measure the ceiling of a moving, packed-to-capacity, Kadamba bus, travelling from Verna to Panjim, with a one rupee coin. He was very strong willed and brave. So boldly went ahead and completed the task. The ‘raggers’ left him alone. He said that the very same guys who ragged him became his mentors later on.
“Today, after the recent Bihar incident, I ask, What about the mentally fragile children, the ones who cannot stand up to bullying?”
In keeping with this, ‘Raju’ recounted an incident that took place in 2011 on the college campus when he was a fresher. He said that some seniors had been psyching a ‘junior’ continuously. The incident came to light when the student, a ‘hostelite’, telephoned his father and over the phone threatened to commit suicide. The father immediately complained to the head of the college who contacted the police. The case was dealt with and the culprits brought to book, to the relief of the victim and his parents.
In a report by TOI in 2010, six students were suspended from GMC in a ‘ragging’ incident.
Goa has a Prohibition of Ragging Act in place.
One of the stipulations of the law stated : ‘(4.) Prohibition of ragging.— Ragging within or outside of any educational institution is prohibited and no person shall commit, abet, propagate or participate in ragging within or outside of any educational institution.’
Some of the ‘anti-ragging’ measures undertaken by colleges
- Goa University gets CCTV cameras to beat ragging in 2013 (as per IBN7 report dated July 22, 2013) have been
- GIM has an Anti-Ragging Committee and Anti-Ragging Squad set up in 2015-16
- V M Salgaocar College of Law, Miramar, has an Anti-Sexual Harassment Committee and Anti-Ragging Committee to protect its students.
- The Dean, Goa Medical College and Hospital, Bambolim, heads the Anti Ragging Committee for the college and has taken all the measures to ensure a safe environment for the students.
- GEC has an anti-ragging committee constituted
The Question that lingers in my mind – “With all the stringent measures in place and all the committees being set up to put a stop to the menace, does ‘Ragging’ still exist as a ghost to haunt those who were victims and those would be ones...’the freshers’?”
What is shocking is that the video clip involved school students. Ragging at school level is almost unheard of especially in Goa. “Hope it stays that way!”.
Usually, this menace pops its ugly head in professional institutions.
National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) issued notices observing that ragging was an “ugly scar” that needed to be obliterated from educational institutions. ( This was in response to an incident of Two students of DPS, Noida, who were allegedly beaten by 17 students for protesting ragging.)(As reported by The Hindu)