In India, ragging is a criminal offence and punishable by law. While many maintain that ragging in the form of playful leg-pulling and harmless bullying is essential to break the ice between seniors and freshers, the unfortunate truth remains that ragging is rarely limited to the precincts of “playful” and “harmless”. In spite of stringent anti ragging laws laid down by most Indian states, every year hundreds of students are subjected to a humiliation that often borders on physical and sexual abuse. Here are a few tips on how to avoid ragging.
The first step towards protecting yourself is to educate yourself. Find out about the anti-ragging committee of your institute and note their emergency numbers. If you are availing hostel facilities there is a chance that you will be ragged at night. Therefore, note down a number that can be reached even after sundown. Although raggings (even at night) are usually not fatal it is a wise decision to be prepared for all kinds of casualties.
In order to be prepared, save the numbers of the nearest hospital, ambulance service and hostel warden. However, while you go information hunting avoid asking any random senior you meet for it. Remember, many humiliations could have been avoided had the right question not been asked of the wrong senior.
Be Alert but not Hostile
Many freshers invite trouble upon themselves by being overtly hostile to harmless questions that are posed to them. If the senior wants you to merely introduce yourself, do it. Do not mistake their friendly banter as vicious assault.
Nothing irritates seniors more than overconfidence. You may be a genius in math or a poet in secret but there is no need to prove it to your executioners. The trick, during ragging, is to maintain a level head on your shoulders when you are hauled up. During other times, be as inconspicuous as possible.
Move in Groups and Avoid the Seniors
If your college is a raggers’ haven, probably nothing can save you from the “introduction class”. But when groups are subjected to ragging together, it unifies them and softens the blow. Avoiding crowds of seniors is also a good way of avoiding individual ragging sessions.
Stand Up for Each Other
If you see a line being crossed stand up for yourself or someone else. If everyone united opposes an injustice, the fear that propels it is defeated.
Never Submit to Sexual Abuse
No matter how scared you are do not submit to any form of sexual abuse or nudity. Remember, the law is in your hand and every college has anti-ragging committees these days. If you are being subjected to such abuse do not hesitate to report it to the college authorities.
Do Not Rag Next Year
Many students support ragging with the excuse that they too had been ragged viciously and it made things better. Yet students have been known to suffer from Post Traumatic Stress and a few have even committed suicide post-ragging. If you have survived ragging yourself, be mature and sensitive. Instead of bending to pressure, take a stand against ragging and help your juniors.