Saturday, March 14, 2009

WHY?

Some incidents which have taken place in the past few days have made me give a thought if those were avoidable or not. I am putting these here for you all to think over and give your valued opinions.

The first incident is of a very senior officer of IAF committing suicide. It was reported that he was depressed as he and his wife were staying in Chandigarh while his son was living away from them in Delhi. He was keen that his son should stay with them. The newspapers had stated that he was a highly decorated officer. It was as if to point that how such a courageous officer who won gallantry awards in wars could do this. There are two issues involved. First relates to Braveness. When you are in war there is only one thing in your mind “ It is either them or me “. So your actions are to see it is “them”. Thus braveness or courage makes you do what under normal times you may not think of. But when it comes to your own, it is just them and them as you would never think of harming them. At my age I can speak from both angles as I have seen both stages. As youngster you are looking for your own space and career. After marriage it is more complicated as the girl who leaves her parental house is also looking to set up her new HOME. Now from parents side, you spend your younger days ensuring that your child ( no matter how grown up he or she becomes you still consider them as child ) gets the best of everything. And you make a lot of sacrifices to do so. As you grow old and are in need of support – may not be financial but surely emotional, if you do not get it who do you look upon for that except your own? That is where a happy balance is to be arrived at. As parents you have to understand aspirations of your child and as son you have to understand the emotional needs of your parents. There can be or rather are circumstances where it may not be possible to live together but does it stop one from spending quality time with parents as often as possible which will make them happily sure of you being there for them? Girl also has to realize that after marriage his parents are you family. She needs to be for them as she would be for her own parents. What does she do if her brother’s wife neglects her parents? Does she not rip her apart? It is not possible to lay down set rules but it is upto both parents and youngsters to be alive to each other’s aspirations and expectations. That way they can be of support to each other happily.

Next come two incidents related to ragging. In first case parents lost their only son because of brutal beating by seniors because he refused to submit to their whims and fancies in the name of ragging in a Medical College Hostel while in the second case a girl in an Engineering College tried to commit suicide being unable to bear ragging by seniors whom she named once she was in a position to make statement. In both case the students had made their parents aware of ragging but asked them not to report as they feared it may affect continuations of their studies. I am aghast that in the case of girl the principal of that college made a statement that the girl was depressed due to not faring well in semester examination. Did anyone try to find out why did she not do well? Here I strongly believe that what is needed is someone who can interact with students in parental manner to know the pulse of what is going on. It should be in not only in hostels but all educational institutions including schools. One who can treat them as his own children. Ragging is something which we can not and should not do away with but it has to be contained within healthy limits. Would the authorities involved in both these incidents behaved in the similar manner if the student was their own child?

May I have your thoughts, please.

13 comments:

nups said...

hi jack
m back.. its been two weeks of emotional highs n lows... u already knw the bad news.. the good news is tat i m kinda engaged .... the guy i was supposed to meet i finally did..and we felt great together :)
hey thanks for the thought abt Granpa.. the condolence was not in delhi so would have been tough for u ...
coming to the point or rather points u made... Jack the guy committed suicide.. yeah its very sad.. but u knw noone but he himself is to be blamed for it... i totally agree with u abt the son thing... will write in detail abt tat later... u knw jack we all have to finally follow our own paths in life... no one is there forever... its our soul journey and its beautiful this way.... easier said than done i knw.. but tats life!

Harsh said...

Ragging: Can we ever solve this problem?

-Harsh Agarwal

In July 2008, CURE analysed the ragging incidents of past 5 years and did a comparative study with the cases reported after the Supreme Court judgment in May, 2007. It was shocking to know that even after the SC judgment, 11 cases of death due to ragging and 5 cases of attempted suicides were reported by the media and there was no significant decrease in ragging. After making so much effort to curb ragging, whenever a fresh case is reported it makes everyone think as to why we are still not able to successfully deal with this menace? It makes us feel disappointed to comprehend the fact that the most educated section of our society is involved in one of the worst form of human rights abuse. Let us understand some of the important fundamental issues associated with ragging which are essential to be understood and addressed if we really want to get rid of this social menace. These are the issues which have been ignored or have not been addressed with the right spirit.


Anonymity of the Complainant: This is the first step to solve the menace and one of the key elements if we want to encourage the fresher to report any incident of ragging. There is tremendous fear in the minds of the freshers and huge possibility of backlash because of which the fresher decides to tolerate ragging and as a result almost 99.99% of the ragging cases go unreported and problem remains suppressed. Provisions like putting a compliant box or expecting the fresher to report the incident to anti ragging cell/committee don’t work because such provisions fail to convince the fresher of complete anonymity and his /her safety.

The best way to tackle this problem is by making it mandatory for every college in the country to do a weekly/fortnightly anonymous survey of the entire first year batch to find out if any sort of ragging is taking place in their college. The idea is to encourage the students by approaching the entire batch and maintaining absolute anonymity rather than waiting for a whistle blower to come forward and report the incident. Unless we make this important provision, the college authorities will continue to live in oblivion and feel that ragging is not a problem in their institution.

Awareness: This is another key element in solving this problem. Ragging is still not considered as social evil and law cannot help in doing so but awareness can. Though ragging has been banned but since the time it has been banned there is an atmosphere of confusion prevailing in the campus. There is confusion as to what is ragging what is not; what will happen to the senior–junior interaction in the absence of ragging. Reason as to why ragging has been banned, what are the ill effects of ragging, what is its origin? Where did it come from? – These questions have not been answered and can never be answered by simply distributing pamphlets giving details about the provisions of punishment or about the contact details of anti ragging committee members. Perhaps that is why several students still believe that this ban has been unnecessarily imposed on them. It is therefore very important to disseminate right information about ragging, about its origin, highlight its ill effects, and why is it irrelevant in today’s time. Also, we need to introduce alternative and healthier methods of interaction to replace ragging to break the ice between the seniors and freshers.

Psychological Menace: Ragging is more of a psychological problem than anything else. Ragging is perhaps the only Social and Human Rights problem in the world in which the victim himself/herself becomes the perpetrator of this crime in a short span of one year. This problem can best be solved by going into the roots of this menace and understanding its psychology. Psychological concepts like Stanford Prison Experiment, Miligram Experiment, Stockholm syndrome, which have close similarities with the psychology of ragging need to be studied carefully to understand this problem and look for appropriate solution.

Role of Media: Be it publishing a front page picture of a Delhi University boy giving rose to a girl to portray ragging or writing only about the provision of FIR or quantum of punishment with regard to ragging, media has failed to disseminate the right information and essential knowledge about ragging. Since the Supreme Court judgment in 2007, the role of the media with regard to ragging has been more to spread sensation. Though there is a long list of guidelines made in the Raghavan Committee report but media chose to highlight only few sensational ones. Today all that the country knows about the Raghavan Committee report is about provision of filing an FIR or about provision of sending director of a college to jail but is completely ignorant about the dozens of other important recommendations/guidelines which can be key to solve the problem of ragging.

Hard Approach: This provision should be used as deterrence and as the last resort when all the other softer efforts fail to curb ragging. Firstly, we need to look from a 17-18 year old fresher’s perspective and understand that a young student who joins the college with a dream to become a doctor or an engineer will find it extremely fearful to use the provision of FIR and later get involved in a court case. Secondly, gathering evidence to prove any ragging incident has always been very difficult as nobody comes forward to testify. Thirdly, we need to ask ourselves that is it easy to de-recognize an institution or stop its fund if it is several decades old and there are several hundred students studying in it? What will happen to the future of those innocent students who were not involved in ragging? What will happen to several hundred crores of the public money spent on building that college? And when ragging is so rampant in our country then how many Medical or Engineering colleges will we de-recognize? How many Directors of such institutions would we send to jail? Fourthly, successful implementation of hard approach depends largely whether various stakeholders of ragging are convinced that it is bad. Presently ragging is seen as an age old ritual by the college community, there are conflicting views about ragging, for some it is a painful torture whereas for others it is a healthy interaction or a personality development exercise. When knowledge about ragging is so low then how will we be able to implement these harsh measures?

Unless and until we act on the above issues seriously, college authorities will continue to label ragging deaths as suicides due to academic pressure; majority of the ragging incidents will continue to go unreported; seniors and teachers will continue to believe that ragging is a healthy interactive and personality development exercise; media will continue to report only sensational stuff about ragging; parents, relatives and society will fail to understand the pain of the ragging victim, and as a result of all this, the harsh provision to curb ragging might soon loose its deterrent effect and we may never be able to solve this problem.
(Harsh Agarwal is a Co-founder of Coalition to Uproot Ragging from Education CURE www.noragging.com and a former consultant to Raghavan Committee on Ragging and can be reached at harsh.agarwal@noragging.com)

Jack said...

NUPS :

I feel happy that it has turned positive for you after meeting him. Please do share his name and future plans. I wish you had let me know of your place, so if I could not come I could have at least sent message. Looking forward to your detailed views including on ragging.

Take care


HARSH :

Thanks for such detailed information on ragging. I have also suggested the need for someone not only in colleges,hostels but even in schools who has an approach more of a friendly parent than official to gain confidence of youngsters so they can confide in him or her. Your view about session with batch of freshers is in the right direction but it should be more in informal manner than official. This could be followed by individual sessions. Also interaction in the same way with seniors too could be considered and they be advised collectively as well as individually to ensure there is not unhealthy ragging. By unhealthy ragging I imply one which has physical abuse, sexual overtones or abuse and racial overtones. I will visit your website and also try to meet you.

Take care

ash89 said...

For some reason, dis always happens. The kids tell their parents about their ragging but the parents ask them to just try and adjust. Even after so many cases, y cant the parents take a step when they are aware of whats going on?

Jack said...

Ash,

Thanks for your visit. You must have noticed that I mentioned that there is a fear of discontinueation of studies which makes victims keeping quiet. That is why I mentioned that we need to have someone who interacts with them in friendly parental manner to know what is going on so remedial actions can be taken.

Hope you have read some of my other posts too.

Take care

Pavi!!!! said...

The ragging thing is toooo crappy! Here is the thing..Ragging as it started..to simply make the new-comers feel comfy and get acquainted with college mates and for the seniors to boss around a tad-bit n feel good was alrite…infact, was fun for ALL..that was the fashion in which I, myself was ragged. (tho I never got to rag my juniors)
But the extremes that some students have taken it to is disastrous. Its unfortunate that teenagers/adults (Over 15 yrs of age) do not know where to draw the line and feel no compassion towards fellow humans!
And cause some donno where to draw the line, there is a parent,sibling,grandparent,friend et etc..cribbing over the loss of a loved one!

N abt the parents spending time with children ..well I kinda agree wit sumthings u mention…but I’d like to ask why only the male perspective is written and not the female. YES…the gurl should look at the guy’s parents as a part of her (extended) family…BUT so should the guy? Rite? How come it never occurred to u to mention that? Mabbbe ‘coz all our mindsets are trained to look at some such stuff in a particular fashion n we can look no further?
N I u’stand our ‘child’ remains just that, ”our child” for all their lives, irrespective of age or anything. I even like the sound of it emotionally, but practically it doesn’t quite sound right. Parents MUST learn to let-go and treat their children according to their age..only then can a healthy and happy relationship be sustained. The need to love and be-loved in in all of us. I u’stand that. But do u agree that one can love their child n at the same time treat them according to their age?

Tho u have spoken about only 2 points in ur post…I’d like to express my view on one more point ….. Suicide. This is not a personal comment angst the person u’ve written about, I donno the man. But generally, I think people who commit suicide are the most selfish people and it’s the greatest act of cowardice! Running Away from a problem, leaving others to face it, is the easiest solution any1 can provide to any problem. Living thru it, is the challenge.

Jack said...

Pavi,

It is real pleasure that you could find time to visit me. Let me say that I totally agree with you that even boy has to treat wife's parents as own extended family and show same respect & affection as for own parents. I had stated this in reply to one of the comments in my o3.indiatimes.com space post. Here I have put forward the common practice in the society at present.

We need someone like I suggested in my post to keep a tab on the happenings and for counselling of youngsters in ragging issues.

I firmly believe that one who commits suicide is a coward who can not face the situation and does not care what legacy he or she leaves for near and dear ones. One needs to adjust to the circumstances.

Take care

Sonal Arora said...

aww...Jack this was too touching...!!
My grandparents also went thru all this....and it hurt me seen them alone...N disputes while they were no more n even after that ....!!

WTEVER U WROTE made me emotional...and yes...i'll always aim to b a wife who take care of his parents...cuz they ll b my family thereafter...

Jack said...

Sonal,

Thanks for your visit. I know you will make a very good family member. I feel this in my heart after reading your posts. Hope you have read my other posts too apart from this and previous one. I sincerely look forward to your views on those on relationship.

Most of my posts are in my other space

o3.indiatimes.com/niceguy251

It will be nice if you can pay visit there too.

Take care

Vandita said...

two very important issues and one that must be talked about.
I know the fast paced lives today make it difficult to find time for family but incase of your parents and grandparents it always shd be a priority...
its very sad that he committed suicide but then ive always believed that nothing is worth ending ur life for.
Raggin, again as u said, it cant be and shdnt be totally done away with. And counseling for students from school onwards to deal with stress, pressure and depression is now becoming a necessity.

Jack said...

Vandita,

Nice to see you here too. Thanks a lot for your supporting views. Let us hope things do change for better.

Take care

Keshi said...

Cos some parents dun care what their children go through...they dun hv the time or the skills to talk abt such matters and sort them out.

Im bak Jack :)

Keshi.

Jack said...

Keshi,

Thanks. You made my day. It is so nice to have you back, my dear younglady.

I agree with you some parents are so busy in either making money or socialising. Children are at the mercy of nannies. So how can the values be inculcated?

Take care