Workshops to fight ragging get lukewarm response

Kolkata, Mar 7 (Calcutta Tube / IBNS) The nation suddenly seemed to wake up to the reality of campus violence, when Aman Kachroo died after being brutally ragged by the seniors of the Rajendra Prasad Medical College, Tanda, Himachal Pradesh last year.
The likes of Kachroo still continue to be a victim of the ragging menace with the administration diluting the issue and often denying it, claims  young anti-ragging activist Harsh Agarwal who came up with the Coalition to Uproot Ragging from Education (CURE), an NGO, way back in 2001.
His continues with his struggle and is now doing the rounds of different cities across India conducting anti-ragging workshop, donning the cap of an activist, often confronting the ‘apathy’ of college administration to talk about the issue, let alone deal with it.
According to CURE statistics, 89 cases were reported in the academic year 2008-09 on ragging.
Harsh had been to different medical and engineering colleges in Nagpur, Nasik, Pune, Suratkal, Mangalore, Trivendum, Chennai, Bangarabet, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Annakapalli near Vishakhapatnam and Kolkata.
However, conducting workshops across cities had not been an easy task for him.
”At times it was extremely difficult to conduct the workshop or even get the permission for it. Many university authorities were in complete denial that ragging is a part of the college campus, ”  the young crusader told IBNS.
”It’s my University. I will decide when I can have this workshop, ” the Dean of a reputed university in a metro city reportedly told him when he sought the permission to conduct a workshop recently.
He (the Dean) also cited the students’ election to be a reason for not being able to conduct the workshop.
”The workshops in the different cities have helped me develop an understanding of the education system and a deeper understanding of the social evil, ” he stated.
” I feel, ragging is a symptom of a greater social malice, ” he  observed.
Sharing his experience in different cities, he said, ” There is a popular perception in colleges that ragging helps break the ice and develop personality. ”
” If we follow the general trend of ragging it has emerged as an instrument in perpetrating caste violence. The trend is all the more evident in Southern India, ” he opined.
” Unlike girls, in many of the workshops, boys are on a denial mode and did not agree to the view that it is something harmful, ” he added.
The young activist is also slated to come up with a book later this year to focus on the issue.
” There is no literature as such on ragging which is why people come up with various random theories explaining ragging. This prompted me to pen down my thoughts and understanding of the issue, ” he said.
” I feel the problem lies in students not having a proper platform and necessary infrastructure that would help the ‘growing up’ process of the young college goers, ” Harsh, who was also a consultant with the Supreme Court appointed committee on ragging in
2007, opined.
” The college authorities should adopt measures so that students get a proper outlet and refrain from indulging in harmful practices, ” he added.
Ragging as a phenomenon can be traced back to as early as 7th or 8th century AD.
In Greek culture, new entrants to the sport community were subjected to all kinds of humiliation to inculcate a team spirit in them.
Gradually, with the passage of time, this technique was subjected to myriad modifications and was later adopted by the military forces, from there it finally entered the education system.
Since its inception in the educational arena, ragging underwent several modifications before morphing into an organised form of campus violence.
-Debayani Bose

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