Say no to ragging
The Indian Supreme Court's recent directive to governments and
educational institutes to comedown hard on ragging has set the stage for
curbing the menace. The SC's directive was issued in the wake of a
committee report which recommended the addition of a new section to the
Indian Penal Code to make ragging a punishable offence.
The committee has further recommended a new definition of ragging
which includes abetment to ragging, public nuisance created during
ragging, violation of decency and morals through ragging, injury to
body, wrongful restraint, use of criminal force etc. that violate human
As far as Sri Lanka is concerned we do not know of any amendment to
the Penal Code to make ragging a criminal offence. Despite many
administrative measures to curb all forms of ragging, the menace raises
its ugly head at periodic intervals. Like any other crime, I do not
think that ragging can be eliminated by laws alone. We need to do
something more to arrest this unhealthy trends.
Like the terrorists 'raggers' are a minority in the student
population. The reason for them to rag freshers can be numerous. If you
analyse the situation ragging takes place mostly in the arts faculties.
It may be that those reading for art degrees know the difficulty of
getting jobs after passing out of the university. There is also a strong
bias towards students following courses in English, foreign languages,
science and medicine.
They are at the butt-end of humiliation. Sometimes, ragging goes
beyond the limit of endurance forcing some undergraduates even to commit
suicide. When such an unfortunate incident takes place we protest loudly
and conveniently forget the issue until another mishap occurs.
The committee that studied the problem of ragging in India has
recommended that all such cases should be dealt with speedily.
University authorities should take the initial step to curb ragging by
punishing the wrong doers and creating an atmosphere for harmony.
Undergraduates must be told in no uncertain terms that ragging is a
Another method is to rope in potential 'raggers' when freshers enter
universities. Meanwhile the causes of ragging should be eliminated at
the school and college level. If all these fail, 'raggers' must be
brought to trial and punished.
In practice, however, educational institutes do not take legal action
against offenders. Even parents do not report serious ragging incidents
to law enforcement authorities. The situation is almost the same here as
As such the Raghavan committee has cited a Kerala case in which a
female undergraduate of the Kottayam Medical College was subject to
sexual harassment during a ragging session. On her complaint to the
police those responsible for the ragging were arrested. Not only were
they punished but the college authorities were also pulled up.
As a preventive measure students in schools and colleges should be
taught the basic human values. If you take a step further parents should
inculcate morals in their children before they attend school. Society at
large including religious leaders and the media also have a role to play
in making the country favourable for living in dignity.
Undergraduates are products of society. If society is rotten to the
core, its products cannot be paragons of virtue. So the whole issue
boils down to correcting ourselves. Ragging cannot be eliminated by laws
alone, no doubt the offenders should be punished. However, punishing
offenders is not going to put an end to indecent ragging.
Ragging should be tackeled at many levels. It is mainly a
psychologically problem. Secondly it is a social problem. It is also a
political, economic and cultural problem.
What is more it is also an academic problem. When the problem is such
a complex one, law alone cannot solve it. We need to adopt a
multi-pronged attack on ragging.