Sri Lanka may be the only country where ragging is used to murder
people, particularly University students and school children. In
addition to murder there have been a large number of cases of causing
deformities, torture, trauma and untold pain of mind.
This wickedness, inhuman behaviour and villainy, resorted to by some
psychologically deranged University students, has now spread to schools,
armed forces, training colleges, technical institutions, religious
institutions and generally everywhere in Sri Lanka. Not only young men
and women but even some clergy, unfortunately, resort to this 'crime'.
Ragging started years ago, as a jolly good way of freshers and seniors
coming to know each other where both parties enjoyed the fun.
This came to Sri Lanka from England. In the Sinhala and Tamil
traditional educational system there was nothing other than mutual
concern, respect and kindness between the novice, the veterans and the
teachers. Today the name ragging is used for a bastardly system of abuse
Not all seniors at the University do go out for ragging and some are
positively against this mean practice. The compulsive "raggers" are
definitely mentally deranged, dangerous "criminals in students'
clothing" and they rag for following reasons.
1. Subconsious desire to murder: Many consider the newcomers as
potential competitiors in the job market and they have a latent desire
to kill them and this desire results in causing potentially fatal harm.
2. Sexual satisfaction: Some derive sadistic sexual pleasure out of
making freshers undress and perform unnatural sex acts and seeing them
cry, writhe and shiver with fear and pain. There has been instances of
suicide of innocent students after getting sexually abused.
3. Inferiority complex: There are mad students who have a low opinion
of themselves due to physical unattractiveness, lack of wealth and or
lack of knowledge of etiquette and other things necessary to be members
of the society that they want to get into. These people are in a state
of fury against the human race and are dangerously anti-social. They
will kill, maim or torture anybody to derive some satisfaction of being
able to exercise power.
4. To force freshers to join their cliques through fear: These gangs
torture newcomers to subdue them and force them to join their cliques as
"slaves." This is the method used by terrorists, underworld gangsters
and madmen like Idi Amin.
5. To take revenge for the torture they had suffered from their
6. To extort money and to force victims to provide other favours.
As a result of this inhuman torture system some have died, some have
got crippled and many have got sexually impotent. The vast majority of
the victims have got permanent psychological scars and some of them, in
turn, become criminal "raggers" who get some consolation by inflicting
pain on their innocent juniors. In fact, this is a national disaster, an
epidemic, a criminal waste of resources, life and a major cause of
deterioration of the values and peace in this lovely land.
The philosophy behind criminal ragging is "Might is Right" i.e., the
stronger have a right to abuse the weaker. This is the basis of
imperialism and slavery. When this kind of thinking is inculcated in
people, they tend to use it wherever they go, for example, as teachers,
government servants or professionals.
Signs of this can be seen at many places where some graduates work,
though the majority do not suffer from the shock that long. Now is the
time to free the country from this menace.
The people who must lead this good work are none other than the
present seniors in the Universities. All those who are against this
dastardly crime that goes under the misnomer "ragging" - religious
bodies, humanitarian organisations, political parties and decent
individuals should get together and stand up NOW, before more torture
and murder will take place with the new batches of innocent students
getting into the Universities this year.
We must eradicate this loathsome, brutish practice that goes against
our culture and values, and ruins the country silently, once and for
all. This Poson period is perhaps the most suitable time for it.
Sena B. Buddhadasa, Colombo 4.
There is a certain place close to Maharagama Cancer Hospital. One day
I just walked in there with a friend of mine. It is a small two storied
building with an open roof top. Ground floor has a few rooms and a large
At the far end there is a clean and tidy kitchen with four cooking
units. In the middle there is a large dining table. Some were busy
cooking. Some were serving the food. At the table there was a person
having a packet of lunch which he had bought from outside. Upstairs
there are a few rooms not very large but clean and comfortable. All the
rooms were occupied.
The hall is large and there was a neat bundle of mats. Many people
can sleep there. At the top floor people can relax in the evenings.
Loads of clothes were drying there. Toilets are very clean.
There are cupboards where you can keep your things safely and also
there is a T.V. set. This place, "Shanthi Nivasa" a paradise is open to
the people who accompany patients to the hospital. Everything is free of
charge. There is an elderly matron, a very kind lady to welcome you.
You can cook your own meals and relax here comfortably as long as you
need. Race, caste, religion, age, gender are immaterial in this place.
There are Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims, of all ages staying there
peacefully. They are from Kalmunai, Vavunia, Kurunegala, Kalpitiya,
Trincomalee, Moneragala and from far away places. They have nobody
around Colombo. They say this is a paradise for them. All were full of
praise for the lady who owns this place.
It is a pleasure to know that there are people who work hard silently
to make this world a better place for the needy. She is a lady who is
moving with the high and mighty but never lost the common touch.
People should appreciate her loving and caring qualities, her helpful
manner, her concern for the needy and for the less fortunate people.
Dear Mrs. Lilani Shaffter, I hope and pray that you will get more
strength to carry on the good work.