Last week the Supreme Court passed a judgement on the death of a student Aman Kachroo who was killed by his seniors during a ragging session, a couple of years back. This judgement will definitely have a far reaching impact and one only hopes that this menace will cease. But what is this ragging and why do people resort to this menace?
Ragging is a kind of rite of initiation. Rite of initiation can be defined as a ceremony to mark the coming of age or an acceptance into a group or a society. In some cases it is considered to be an acceptance into adulthood. These rites were and in some cases still are, very common across the world. Many tribes have similar ceremonies for both boys and girls, but some are more prominent and of a public nature for boys.
Tribes or cultures consider such rites a must for an individual to be regarded as a member of the society. Some of them are so strict, that boys who have not been ceremoniously initiated are not allowed to participate in social rituals and ceremonies. Such boys are not allowed to get married too, till they have not undergone the rites. The tribal logic is that such rites enables boys and girls to understand themselves better and helps them prepare for the role of adulthood. Puberty rites, circumcision and many such activities are seen as examples of rites of initiation. Many cultures like the Australian Aborigines, go through elaborate ceremonies which include teaching them the laws of the society during the rites. The thread ceremony amongst the Hindu’s can be considered to be a similar rite, though it is performed only amongst a section of Hindus (Brahmins) and is thus not a universal rite.
Such rites have or had their own significance. It heralded the transition of an individual from childhood to adulthood and thus a change of responsibility, in the absence of a present modern day structure. In olden days it was used to communicate that the days of fun were over, and as an adult, it was time to join profession (hunting, farming, etc.). It also enabled the society to acknowledge the presence of adults in the society. Every culture, be it tribes from Africa, Central America or Australia, or religions like Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism or Islam, such rites are documented in some form or the other. Some ceremonies are sometimes painful whereas some are harmless occasion of coming together and celebrating the status of adulthood.
But when such an ancient practice raised an ugly head in a modern avatar of Ragging is not known nor is it worth chronicling. Why this rite became a right by might, and why such acts became sadistic source of entertainment, is something that needs to be understood clinically. When temples of education become Guantanamo Bay’s of the world, then it is time for the Dronacharya’s of today to hang their heads in shame. If such Guru’s can show speed and the will in
curbing this menace then it will go a long way in their true responsibility of imparting education. Terming such acts as ‘friendly introduction sessions’ is turning a blind eye to the massive menace that exists in our society, and if the bull is not held by the horns, we will only have more Aman Kachroos and unfulfilled dreams. Supreme Court needs to be thanked for the step taken, even if it means that four young careers have been nipped in the bud. But don’t rely only on Legislations. On our part, let’s teach our children to say ‘No’ to Ragging and help them avoid donning the roles of archaic mother-in-laws.