March 12, 2009
Ragging- Time to act!
The news of a young life been violently destroyed in the name of ragging, is so disturbing, and not just that it brings anger in me, but it gives me a sense of helplessness, similar to what a young boy would have felt when he would have gone through these atrocities, that too in a place where education was to be given, where young minds joined with hopes and dreams. What’s sad is that just in a couple of days, the society would actually forget this, and we would be back to our routines, until one more incident would happen, and then we shall repeat this cycle of despair and pain.
Can you imagine the pain, the distress, the helpless horror that a young student would have faced, the helplessness around the torture? Do you realize that hundreds of students would be aware of this, that there would be an administration that would have been around, that no one could prevent this? Can you even remotely imagine the pain of the boys’ family? That this could happen to anyone around us, in our family, if we continue to let “ragging” be a part of our education institutes!
In this article I shall try and bring to light the psychological impacts of ragging on students, focusing only on ragging that is done as harassment, physical or psychological.
When students, especially seniors say that this is for fun only, and that ragging helps juniors to know seniors and so on, they need to understand the effects of there actions, as a lot of things we do in the present that could have a long lasting impact in the future.
Basically physical ragging, ragging with a sexual connotation, and verbal insults and harassment are the kinds of ragging that have to be totally thrown out of the system.
Its during physical raging, that the junior (who now is a victim), goes through intense fear, a sense of horror an helplessness, and in the long run has a high chance of having anxiety disorder, and event post traumatic stress disorder in the future.
Sexual ragging also has a similar impact on the psyche as sexual self-esteem is a very important part of the young adult, and the recollection of this incident can affect long-term social and sexual life of the victim.
Verbal ragging based on caste, and other kinds of discrimination also has a similar impact as this results in an increased feeling of prejudice, and discrimination, making a further dent in an already divided society.
Whenever some seniors have talked to me about ragging, there first rational to it is that it allows them to know the new students, and helps the juniors in turn to make new bonds. The rational is totally accepted, as the fun that is with consent of both parties is probably the best way to make new social bonds, as long as it is with consent, and it does not include physical, verbal or sexual harassment. But the key is, it needs to be mutual fun, and nothing else!
The second factor that sometimes comes out is that, ‘ I have gone through this and I want to give it back’. And this is why our unhealthy habits never die. We learn history so that we don’t repeat out mistakes, and if we don’t learn form our past experiences then that’s hardly a mature development of the self.
But I do believe that for any person who has been ragged, and who carries with him negative experiences of this incident, would have a chance of doing it to others if his stress was not resolved adaptively. And here comes the role of counselors who help the victim resolve his problems so that they are not passed on.
The long-term effects or ragging can be: Aggression, Anxiety, Depression, PTSD, long term prejudice, and drop outs and suicides.
Suicide of a student is a national disaster. As this was a person for the future and it was lost only for a ritual that was a part of college life. Death due to ragging is the worst picture of the reality of ragging. May be the senior could go and tell their family that it was for fun only!
Is there a way out?
Well yes, if authorities of colleges, the students unions, and seniors and overall we a society all decide to put an end to this, yes there is a solution.
- First, the offender has to be punished, consistently, immediately, and severely so that the learning to others is there.
- Secondly, students unions should create awareness in seniors to prevent harassment, have special days where seniors and juniors meet, where in a positive atmosphere mutually acceptable fun could be had to make new friends.
- Media needs to highlight the harmful effects of ragging.
- Also institutes must have a mental health professional on the panel, who could be approached by any student if he goes through stress so that he could be helped.
This is our collective apathy, that we allow this to happen around us, and we don’t react. And it’s the responsibility of the society to now raise their voices and make itself be counted, and bring an end to ragging in academic institutes. We don’t want to lose another young life. Its time to act!