Ragging - Who Is Responsible?

November 12, 2010
Finally (?) the four boys who ragged and beat to death Aman Kachroo, a first year MBBS student at Tanda Medical College, Himachal Pradesh, India, would be behind the bars.  The Court has handed out a punishment of four years rigorous imprisonment (RI) to these four boys. 

Prof Kachroo (Aman's father), who worked as a Professor in DU, had quit his job to start this campaign against ragging in the country.  This case shook the whole nation.  Although, ragging was not a new thing, it was rampant and even such fatal incidents were also taking place.  But, the man behind the campaign put in whatever he was left with, after losing his son Aman, for this cause.  It is commendable.  Grieving for your child is one thing, and fighting to save others' is another.  I wrote about this some time back in my post "Hats Off Prof Kachroo"(Pl see in a new tab)

Prof Kachroo. (Aman's pic in background)
The Aman Movement -
It was commendable on Prof Kachroo's part not because he fought in the courts to get justice for his dead son, but because, he worked  for a bigger cause, to make everybody aware about the rampant spread of ragging in all the educational institutions of India.

The efforts of Prof Kachroo bore fruits when the State Government of Himachal Pradesh (India) passed a legislation against ragging, 'The Himachal Pradesh Educational Institutions (Prohibition of Ragging) Act, 2009' in August last year. The act states that students involved in ragging would not only be expelled and be ineligible for admission to any other institution for three years, but may also be jailed and fined Rs 50,000.

Why Ragging? 

Ragging, understandably, is done to get acquainted with the juniors.  It surely has some hint of insecurity in the seniors, who think it is justified to make the new comer look stupid in order to retain his importance in every body's eyes. Within limits, it could have been a healthy way of mixing up with college mates and making new friends, but unfortunately, it is not so in many cases.

Right now, the four boys have been pronounced a RI of four years, but I still wonder that -

Is the punishment justified?

I mean putting these young men behind bars for four years (out of which 20 months they have already put in) enough to change everything?  The roots of this cause are much deeper than they apparently seem.  Yes, it does send a signal, in fact, this case is quite a victory in many ways. It is quick justice.  Two years is all it took. The guilty put in jail, the head of the college made to retire compulsorily as a penalising measure, and a new law made in the State to counter such incidents.  Yes, it is justice in many a ways.

But, we got to look deeper.  What is causing the youth to be so insensitive, so aggressive, so violent? who is actually responsible for such reckless behaviour which results in such a suffering for many?

As parents, we tell our children to give back to whosoever hits them. We think, the scuffle he had in the school is some childish act.  We ignore our child's complaint if someone irritates him, or teases him in the class.  Same thing happens when your college going, or hosteler son tells you about the problems he is facing.  You might think these are teething troubles.

We tend to tell them to adjust. Same goes with daughters who tell their mothers about harassment faced in her marital home, she is told to adjust.  Don't you think, it is pure weakness on our part, when we choose to ignore what our child is trying to tell us?  Of course, jumping the gun each time would be foolish, but in most of the cases, the parents are aware what is happening to their child, but they choose to remain silent, as if indirectly telling the child to learn to take the hits of life. Of course, we, as parents are responsible.  We must pay heed to the words and the silence in between.

Institutions and Law - In this case, the Principal of the College is made to leave.  Now is it sufficient?  He will go and another unarmed soldier will come to fight the battle.  We are aware that carrot and stick is required to make people walk the line (which is unfortunate though).  Where is the carrot, read any negative marking for indiscipline? Where is the stick?  meaning, any rule of the university backed by the Law of the State?  In absence of these, expecting a college principal to handle young boys, raw and bubbling with energy is foolish. 

Although, while researching for this post, I saw this report "The Menance of Ragging in Educational Institutions and Measures to curb it" submitted by the Committee constituted by the country's highest Court after the various ragging cases in the country.  It was a huge report, but after reading a few relevant portions, I could understand that laws to control ragging exist in various States of the country, but still they are not enforced.  The reason could be the lack of will by the institutions. Again, it's the chalta hai (casual) attitude.

Did something go wrong in our upbringing?

When the youth, which grows on corporal punishment in school and peer pressure of the stronger or the wealthier classmates;  the youth which grows under parental insensitivity; the youth which grows up with the porn, which grows up with violent computer games and lack of a role model, he surely, begins to take pride in breaking rules, trying to set his own. 

He feels macho when he begins his first beer or talks filthy with his friends (you know what I mean?), he feels he is a man now.  It is that extended machoism, when a group of students feel it's right to exploit or harass physically, mentally  and sexually, another person, who is comparatively weaker than him.

It's time we ask, where have we gone wrong? These last 10 to 15 years specially, we saw how values were given a back seat.  It was only limited to "Value Education" book prescribed to junior classes in public schools.  Families only wanted marks and grades.  Somewhere, we are to be blamed.  We got to look within.

External Discipline Has Ruined Us-

How many times have we, as kids, finished our home-work because the teacher might scold us?  How many times we observed the discipline in our work place because our boss might get offended?  How many times have we followed the traffic rules, though grudgingly, because the traffic cop is watching us?  We do it, all the time, because we've got used to external discipline. 

We want to know what will be the penalty if we break a rule, and if it is not much, we can consider breaking rule for fun.  Until Delhi Govt didnot impose heavy fines on not wearing helmets on two wheelers and not tying seat belts in cars or on jumping red lights, we were OK with it.  We were ready to shell out that Rs 100-200 (or whatever it was), but felt the helmet was too much of a pain.  We say "Rules are for Fools".  This is where we go wrong.  And this is what the price we pay. 

The sense of discipline should be intrinsic. There is some saying which means, you are what you would do, when no one is watching! (let me know if someone knows the actual saying) so, till the time the sense of discipline is not internal, we will keep waiting for that stick to hit us. We'll keep waiting for accidents to happen to improve ourselves.  It is really very important to inculcate self-discipline in children.  Let them be self driven, let them decide their path, parents got to be the guiding lights for them.
I sincerely hope that the youth of the country would try to understand that crushing somebody weaker than you is not machoism and the parents will understand that boys also need to cry, give them your open arms, when they need you. Read your child's words and more importantly his or her silence.


Sakhi Shah said...

I really like this post. Its very well-organized and also very well-written. I agree with you to a large extent. I do think that ragging as far as it extends to mild teasing is okay (maybe even good to allow the student to lose their inhibitions) but not to the extent of physical torture and depression-inducing stress that is seems to be going to nowadays.

sarah said...

yes ragging has emerged as a serious issue specially in the professional colleges. i m myself a 1st year medical student and was luckily saved from being ragged due to very strict laws.

P.S.- i loved ur blog, delighted to see someone catering such a wide variety of topics, will visit more often surely :)
keep blogging!

Blasphemous Aesthete said...

I dont know what to say. I think everything from top to bottom was unfair.
Unfair for seniors to be so brutal there, unfair for him to be the only one to succumb to it. Unfair for the authorities, unfair for the court. And who's to blame?
No one, and everyone.
I started to write a very long comment, but then I'd make that a blog post some day.

Anonymous said...

Interaction must be there between seniors and juniors but without ragging and violence and abuse.

Jack said...


A much needed look at this aspect of life. I agree with you that Self Discipline is a must and to inculcate that role of parents / elders plays a major part. Interaction between seniors and juniors is required but without physical or emotional abuse. Your mention about marital side needs more looking into as at times it may be the girl who creates discord.

Take care

PS : Left comment on previous post too. No visit?

Harish P I said...

superb post.. basically our educational system is all about how to farm bank notes.. somewhere we lost our values, principles, character and attitude. from primary classes it is the jungle law that rules. our class rooms should not be militant training camps and a holistic approach should be taken in educational issues. ragging is a result of basic flaws in educational system..

pdkamath said...

Hi the verdict shows that still we can rely on our judiciary. In spite of losing his kith and kiln Prof Kachroo not only fought on the courts to punish the culprits but started a nationwide campaign against ragging in educational institutions. Aman's death should be an eye opener to all those so called progressive people who are hell bent on westernizing everything. Even these bunch of jokers are arguing in favor of abolishing corporal punishment in schools. Anyway thanks for writing something very useful to the society.

Arpana said...

your points are well stated and agreeable-but it not always possible for parents to inculcate everything in the child-the environment, demands and pressure -which play great role in determining the mind set of children.

Anonymous said...


I have a inquiry for the webmaster/admin here at myworldmyperception.blogspot.com.

May I use part of the information from this blog post right above if I give a backlink back to this site?


Anu said...

Great post with a great cause RS!
I don't understand what motivates students to rag another younger student! The relationship between seniors and juniors must be the one of the most beautiful relationships in the world. It's disgusting to see these immature people making it a heart-wrenching act!!

A Restless Mind With A Sensitive Heart! said...

Sakhi Shah - Glad u liked the presentation apart from the content :)Well yes, things done in a proper way could have been better for all.

Sarah - Welcome, and thank u dear!

BA - yup unfair and everyone responsible. Btw, u r free to write long, and very long comments on my blog :)

opinionsand expressions - yes true.


A Restless Mind With A Sensitive Heart! said...

Jack - Hello! glad to c ur comments.

The point regarding marital thing.. well yes exceptions are always there, but mostly parents try to settle their daughters down somehow, i have seen that.

I read all the comments and cherish them too, it is a huge encouragement for me. At times, when I cannot reply, I login just to read the comments. Yes, delayed to reply. :)


A Restless Mind With A Sensitive Heart! said...

Harish - very well said... thanks! I totally agree with you.

pdkamath - welcome to this blog. Yes, u wrote some very valid things. Prof Kachroo's efforts are truely appreciable. Just that I dodn't get which 'bunch of jokers' u r talking about?

Aparna - Yes, ur right, it's difficult. Parenting has become even more tough now! But, if we know the direction to move, we will surely get at least half the way on the right path.

Anonymous - If u r serious, pls write from a valid ID.


A Restless Mind With A Sensitive Heart! said...

Vaish - yes, dear, even now it's going on. Just read this report today that UP tops in ragging complaints received. And steps have not been taken by the Govt/Institutions in this direction despite law in place.

More and more bloggers should spread the word about this.

Dear reader,

Please share the post with your college going friends.



Anonymous said...

well. i saw this article and its just that i gave it a miss regarding the comments. for i think i already have commented earlier on the same issue. my stand remains the same.ragging is a good thing to start with. it makes men out of boys. but as in all areas, there are black sheeps here too... who take this as an excuse to harass, intimidate and show their machismo. cant help. with all possible laws and strictures, ragging still happens and will happen

Niket said...

Rightly said, 'Ragging' is a process wherein the juniors stand a chance to get acquainted with their seniors. If taken in sportingly, ragging definitely helps make a person strong & also helps to shed the initial inhibitions & open up.
But sometimes, in some places, some people do not really understand 'Ragging' and misuse it to the fullest. This is where 'External Discipline' comes into picture & plays a pivotal role. In Mumbai, most of the educational institutions have enforced the law for ragging and have been successfully implementing it.
But as Neo said ragging still happens and will happen, it entirely depends upon how sportingly you are able to take it & handle it.

Anonymous said...

Complex Post. This record helped me in my school assignment. Thanks Alot

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