BGU has zero Tolerance Policy for Ragging. The Institute views ragging, banned by Supreme Court of India, as an uncivilized, and inhuman practice. We do not subscribe to the view that one could wait till something happens in order to initiate punitive measures. Punitive measures in such cases may damage a young career. So we repose faith in averting such eventualities. For this, the Institute pursues proactive policy.
Preventive measures had been devised during last couple of years to eliminate all possibilities of occurrence of such a ghastly incident even in its mildest form. A series of measures had been devised and implemented during last couple of years to rule out any incident of ragging to be attempted by senior students at any place inside or outside the Campus. Having a fully residential campus enhances our responsibility. It also empowers us with greater control over students. For making ragging non-grata at BGU, all stakeholders viz. management, faculty, students and employees are involved to create an environment where not only ragging cannot take place, but students do not even think of indulging in such actions.
Measures to Eliminate Ragging
1. Ragging Prevention Committee: A Ragging Prevention Committee (RPC) is formed every year under the Chairmanship of a senior professor. This committee functions actively for first two months from the date of start of the session.
i) A separate committee of senior students is formed each year to assist the Ragging Prevention Committee. They act as the eyes and ears of the faculty committee. Besides, they are also involved in educating their colleagues. They are also assisted by senior student volunteers from amongst their own colleagues.
ii)(a) During the initial period of new session (over a month and half), all members of the faculty are involved during the day to exercise vigilance in the academic complex.
(b) In the night, a team of 4–6 faculty members, under the active leadership of the Chairperson, Ragging Prevention Committee start working from 9pm onwards. Members of the team, including the Chairperson, continuously move in the campus to keep a watch. Everyday, 4-6 senior student volunteers take rounds with the faculty team in the campus.
(c) Every teacher and staff member is obliged to do this duty twice a month.
(d) Director, Deputy Director, Registrar, Chief Proctor and Wardens keep on joining this team practically daily for short periods.
2. Second year students are normally allowed to occupy hostels after 15 days of the joining of first year students in the new session. New session for second year students also begins only then.
3. Separate meetings of senior faculty with first year and second year students are held in the very beginning of the session and then periodically to sensitize them against ragging. Punishment to be meted out to culprits is well publicized through posters both inside and outside the neighborhood of the campus. Tea-shirts with the inscription like ‘We do not Rag’, ‘We Abhor Ragging’, ‘Zero Tolerance for Ragging’ and BGU is Toxin Free Campus are distributed among faculty and students.
4. Affidavit from parents of second year students for non-involvement of their wards in ragging is taken in before they are allowed to move into the campus. (Copy of the letter enclosed).
5. Student(s) mentor bodies are formed wherein a group of respected seniors, who can motivate and inspire the fresher, is entrusted with the task of guiding and helping them navigate the turbulent times from
school to college and from home to hostel life.
6. Entry of second year students is prohibited in the rooms of first year students till fresher’s party is over.
7. Formal interaction among first year and second students in the presence of institute authorities is arranged.
8. Sports activities between teams of first year and second year students in the evenings are organized in the presence of authorities.
9. Literary and cultural activities with the joint participation of seniors and juniors, and boys and girls are held periodically in the guidance of faculty.
What is Ragging?
According to Raghvan Committee Report, ragging has several aspects which have psychological, social, political, economic, cultural, and academic dimensions.
1. Any act that prevents, disrupts or disturbs the regular academic activity of a student should be construed ragging within the academics related aspect. Similarly, exploiting the services of a junior student for completing the academic tasks, assigned to an individual or a group of seniors, is also an aspect of academics related ragging.
2. Any act of financial extortion or forceful expenditure burden put on a junior student by senior students should be considered to be ragging for economic gain.
3. Any act of physical abuse, including all such variants as sexual abuse, homosexual assaults, stripping, forcing obscene and lewd acts, gestures, causing bodily harm or any other danger to health or persona can be put in the category of ragging in criminal category.
4. Any act or abuse by spoken words, e-mails, snail-mails, and public insults should be considered to be psychological ragging. This would also include deriving perverted pleasure, vicarious or sadistic thrill from actively or passively participating in the discomfiture to others;
5. Absence of preparing ‘freshers’ in the run up to their admission to higher education and life in hostels also can be ascribed as a psychological aspect of ragging. Skills of interaction with seniors or strangers and facing their challenge can best be imparted by parents. Any act that affects the mental health and self-respect and confidence of students also can be included in psychological ragging.
6. The human rights perspective of ragging involves the injury caused to the fundamental right to human dignity through humiliation heaped on junior students by seniors; often resulting in an extreme step of suicide by the victims. In one instance, we have recounted the reported case of the mother of the victim committing suicide as she could not bear the ignominy of sexual assault on her son by his seniors.
7. Senior students often gather in small groups to surround a few juniors. It detected by faculty, seniors plead that they were just having interaction and guiding the juniors. It may often be a ruse to carry out ragging. Interaction and guidance should be in the presence of faculty. Sometimes the plea is that the juniors asked for the notes and help.
Instructions of Supreme Court: (Source: Times of India, dated: May 9, 2009)
Penal consequences and departmental proceedings against institutions and departmental heads who show apathy towards complaints of ragging. Freshers to be divided into small groups and affiliated to a teaching staffwho would keep constant vigil on their welfare and protect them from seniors;
Departmental action against principal of Rajendra Prasad Government Medical College, where Amann Kachroo died after ragging;
SHO/SP, within whose jurisdiction a particular college falls, shall be responsible for ensuring that no ragging takes place on the campus of the concerned college;
Wrong Notions about Ragging
The most important problem encountered in building a consensus against ragging is the social denial that accompanies any mention of the ill effects of ragging. The level of ignorance among the general public about its existence, and effects.
Absence of a framework to deal with it is startling, to say the least. We mention some of them here and also provide explanations. Some of the following are the Ruses for ragging.
1. Ragging is Harmless Fun
Most people think that ragging, involving verbal interaction or having freshers do funny acts for a laugh, is mild. It is a darker side of ragging which is widely prevalent in hostels and in outlying colleges. The practice of ragging revolves around cases of emotional harassment, and sexual and physical abuse. Most of the cases are undocumented, and even if publicized, are denied by colleges for fear of reprisals or loss of public image.
2. Ragging - Nothing more than Cleaning Senior's room or Removing one’s shirt
Ragging incidents have included stripping of all clothes, public sexual acts to the extent of sexual intercourse and sodomy. Ragging takes its worst form when freshers are mercilessly beaten, asked to take drugs, made to work 24x7 and forced to follow such rules as not removing shoes for months.
3. Severe Ragging not Prevalent Anymore
Severe ragging is widely prevalent in most of the colleges, which have hostels, be it smaller cities or metropolitans. Nothing speaks louder than 25 cases of suicide due to ragging during last seven years. After the Supreme Court Judgment, colleges have just geared up to keep ragging incidents under the cover. The problem is not solved yet, it is just hidden.
4. Ragging Breaks the Ice between Seniors and Freshers. It helps in their interaction and developing friendship between them.
Ragging is an archaic method of interaction with several harmful effects. Today with advancement in psychological science, there are many other healthy ways of interaction which are more effective and without any human rights abuse.
5. Ragging Generates Unity and Oneness.
It is often claimed that ragging makes one bold. Ragging divides the students on the lines of caste, region, class, seniority and juniority etc. It sets up a mob mentality among the students.
6. Ragging makes freshers Bold
Let us consider, what is boldness. Boldness is actually taking a stand for one’s principles and truth, even when the person knows that he could lose something for taking this stand, or it can become dangerous for him. Acceptance of wrong done to you and not breaking-down is not boldness. It is revolting against the wrong done to you and not breaking down. Ragging does not make one bold, it teaches us how to be exploited and mutely and non-resistively accept it. To flip the argument, let us now consider ragging where a person is asked to do something stupid in public, but this time the ragging act has a sexual/physical/unethical attribute. This could be hurling nasty/sexual abuses on someone, holding your private parts in public, making an indecent proposal to a girl, stripping oneself, etc.
Yes, indeed such acts make one courageous. But, is it not the courage to do the wrong? Ragging tend to instill the courage in an individual that she/he should not be afraid to be something, which is socially unacceptable and wrong, since the consequence would not be much! This sows the seeds to defy rules laid down by the society though it starts with the defiance of the rules of an institution where one studies. It inculcates the mentality of looking down upon the younger ones and to order them around. In other words, it teaches bossing like a lord.
It promotes the habit to exploit those found to be weaker at the moment. One can appreciate that this boldness is actually 'gunda-gardi'.This is the courage which all unsocial elements like eve teasers, bullies and even blackmailers and murderers possess.
Is the surrounding of one or few juniors by many seniors not bhaigiri? The courage is not derived from the truth of one's stand, but the non-existence of dire consequences or even if some consequences exist, overlook the same. It is once again a perverted boldness/courage.
We strongly object to any kind of ragging not only due to its unprincipled and unethical nature, but because it instills the worst kind of courage in a person also.
One is tempted to compare it with the courage of the suicide bombers! Wrong-doers are persons, who lose sensitivity towards the self-respect of others and who are not afraid to do the wrong. Ragging indeed moulds freshers in this way, as is proved when the freshers become perpetrators in the second year! Often the plea is that we were ragged last year, it is our turn now.
7. No one can rag me, if I don't allow it
It is often claimed that juniors themselves participate in ragging and they do not object. The fact is that a disorganized set of freshers face a united front of seniors, who ask them to do the most unthinkable things in the name of ragging. A NO from the fresher means public humiliation, beating and infliction of worst torture. Singling out a protesting student is a regular feature of the game of ragging. Complaints may mean facing hostile authorities, threat from the whole senior batch, leaving no option for the fresher but to leave the campus and ruin his/her career. The Victim often denies the fact that she/he was ragged out of fear. The options for the victimised perpetrated fresher are few, though there are always exceptions, who prove it otherwise. It is rightly said, “Exception Proves the Rule”.
We at BGU want all our students, junior or senior, to be fearless in the true sense.