First ray of dawn, you get up, all freshened up and motivated because it’s your very first day in university. Lucky you all, who got a chance to pursue their dreams and will embark on a new journey of escapades, learning and so much more but oh hey, wait! You go into this whole new place, all alone, not a single familiar face and then a bunch of seniors surround you out of the blue, teasing you, making you do things which are embarrassing and making you feel confused, nervous, edgy and uncomfortable. Lamentably this extravaganza will last for an entire week which will have a serious impact on your mind throughout the entire four years.
This so called ritual is practiced in all the higher educational institutions of South Asian countries and is given the name Ragging, where seniors abuse, irritate and even harass the new entrants. Ragging also encompasses the use of abusive language, teasing, criticizing, scolding or nagging of the juniors.
Ragging was initially understood as a traditional form of welcoming incomers in a school. This was a fun activity enjoyed by everyone as it never involved revenge or any insult. The new students were to be introduced in friendship groups so they had to be teased a little to conform to the group. Therefore, a minimal ragging would induce the newcomer to have a socially acceptable behavior and get rid of the old eccentricity.
However today it has become a tool for mistreating and punishing students when they disobey their seniors. I personally think that there is no difference between ragging and bullying. Both are the same things, just two same activities with different assorted names. Bullying is when a superior strength is used to force someone to do something. It is sheer pester and persecute. Bullying ravages the self esteem and confidence of a person. Not everyone can stand up to a bully especially when you’re completely surrounded by them and even if you are thinking of an escape, it’s the first day, you don’t even know which department is which yet, where are you gonna go and hide? In the restroom? Not a very good idea I tell you.
When I first came to the university, I was bullied (even tho everyone calls it ragging, I’d still very much like to use the term bullying) more than three to four times. It affected me but then I just managed because you gotta act normal and be a good entertainer otherwise they won’t let you go. I would very much not like to recall that time for now. Some juniors are smart and play well, most of them are confused and scared, howbeit, why is there even a need to perform such a foolish thing?
Since fall has begun and so many freshies can be seen in my university, strolling, looking here and there with confusion on their faces, some with redness and embarrassment on their faces because they had just been bullied. It’s been only two days since the fall 2018 semester has begun and every time when I enter into cafeteria or some lawn or anywhere, all I hear is hooting of seniors and juniors being bullied. The funny part is, even my friends want to do it and without any surprise, they are. Every time I try to talk them out of it, I get answers like, “Hey chill, we all do it just for fun.” , “Come on girl, don’t be so boring, we just wanna have some fun.” , “Come on yar, it’s fun.”
What in the world sort of obnoxious “fun” is this? I honestly don’t get it. Why do people find it so much funny and interesting on laughing upon someone else’s misery and confusion? Okay so they all have had a very good time insulting and making fun of their juniors, what next? Back to their daily monotonous routines? How did this bullying help them? Did it help them grow? Did it help them learn something beneficial or rewarding? Did it help them evolve or groom? Did it even help them with anything at all? Does it feel so good to laugh at a junior person with sweat coming down his cheeks, mind all confused and face all red with embarrassment? Where’s the fun part here? Is it where when you force them to act foolishly and daftly? or is it hidden somewhere between the process of their confidence being crushed and their self esteem being faded away among the seniors’ laughters. I have even seen students who have started crying, how insulting that is now. There are people who give me explanations like, “We have been ragged too so why not do the same thing with the juniors?” Wow! Kudos! What a great way of continuing this hideous cycle of breaking spirits. My one friend did not come to university for first entire week because she was scared that she will get bullied which in return affected her attendance. Today when all the guys started ragging the juniors in the coaster, a guy who was supposed to leave at a stop miles away than the present location of the bus took off, only because he got petrified. Poor thing, hoped he had the internet package and the money to book an Uber ride.
Ragging on students could damage their psychology. A new student who is teased on a regular basis may become angry and starts to feel isolated and detached from their educational institute. The fact that school, for them, becomes a space where they are continuously rejected renders them fragile and prone to depressions, fear, and anxiety. A student who undergoes ragging develops a feeling of inferiority that decreases and weakens their self-esteem tremendously. Fun fact is, ragging is against fundamental human rights. Being a senior does not give you any right to pull up and tease others.
Victims of ragging face trauma, depression and even there are some cases where students commit suicide because they were continuously mistreated. Everyone including the media have been portraying ragging as something so normal, something which is a part of everyone’s lives when it shouldn’t be. The authorities in universities themselves don’t take any action and let this activity continue being a norm. Mistreating someone, insulting and demoralizing someone is never ever okay, it can never be okay. No matter what explanations people have to give, ragging does not fall under the definition of having fun.