Memories of Ragging

Ragging and its consequences are in the news again after the death of a 19 yr old medical student recently. Debates and discussions are going on the issue of prevention of ragging and enforcement of laws. My post, however, is not on that topic. My post is on the fond memories of ragging I have from my B.E. days and the effect it had on us.

On the first night in hostel, we had the huge task of memorizing all our hostel seniors’ names and hometowns and our introduction in Hindi. Thank god I had pretty good memorizing power and I was in Electrical Engineering branch which was easily translated into “Vidyut Abhiyantriki”. We pitied the girls of CSE or Electronics.I also chose Philately as my hobby to avoid any further questions and it was one of the cleverest decisions of my life :D [ You can check out samples of my stamp collection here] Only one 4th yr senior was smart enough to think of a question to ask me regarding Philately. She asked me what was the image on Rs 1 stamp and I answered correctly. She let me go :)

Our ragging consisted of singing, dancing, jokes, lots of scoldings and ridiculing. Seniors also gave us the tips about college, seniors, studies and teachers. They laid out rules for hostel including bathroom and we had to follow them. The first years were supposed to eat the last. We had to pick up the hostel phone within 3 rings. We were not allowed to wear nightie or night suits in hostel in first year. Only salwar suits. We had a uniform too for college; to identify the first year students. But our seniors never made us write files or assignments or draw sheets for them.

ragging-dress

Yeah I wore that big specs once. Check out the oily hair and pigtails - symbols of ragging.

We had to address 2nd years as Ma’am Miss XYZ Ma’am, 3rd years as Respected Ma’am Miss XYZ Ma’am and final years as Honorable Ma’am Miss XYZ Ma’am. It was very funny when someone had to deliver a message from one senior to another. You can imagine the prologue before coming to the point! :D Our day would start with us wishing all our seniors a good morning. Then we used to leave for college accompanied by two seniors, walking in a single line with our eyes on the “third button” and wishing anyone who passed us by. During recess, we hostelers didn’t venture out. Then in evening we were accompanied back by our seniors. After freshening up, we all went for the evening wish. Then after dinner we went for ragging every night for 2-3 hours.

Once, the fact that I happened to know about sun signs was revealed. 3 seniors called us and asked me to identify who is the Scorpio among them. I requested to look at their faces once. While I was glancing at them, I noticed one had a dimple while suppressing her smile. I knew she must be on cusp of Libra and Scorpio and I said her name as being the Scorpio. She was  pleased and impressed with me :D

Our college even held “GR” i.e. general ragging officially!! It was a day for cross ragging but we hostelers didn’t have much problem. In fact the hardest thing was to control laughter as the senior sirs used to make their juniors do all sorts of funny things. In return for ragging, we were given concessions like no “local” senior could rag us, we carried normal college bags instead of “Gandhi Jhola” and no male senior had the permission to make us do a “ninety” wish. Our hostel seniors took us  to movies and market and if any senior is there on the bus to college, we needn’t pay any money.  And of course  there was the awesome Freshers’ Party!!

All dressed for Freshers

All dressed for Freshers

We continued the traditions when we became seniors and we had the most wonderful time with our juniors. Some of us and the juniors even went on a one day trip to Sanchi and had so much fun. But after that ragging dwindled and chaos ruled in hostel by the time we left after graduation. For example I was once pushed by a first year girl to get to the “dal” first during dinner time. There were complaints from neighbors and trouble with college administration too.

Waiting for bus

Juniors and Us - on way to Sanchi

The Sanchi Stupa with miniature us

The Sanchi Stupa with miniature us

We were 18 first year girls in hostel. Some from conservative families, some on payment seats (from metros and rich families) and some on free seats (average middle class families like me and my school friend). Ragging made us unite, to look out for each other and to have discipline. The habit of addressing people as Sir or Ma’am got wired into me after ragging only. It also helped me in understanding and following the junior- senior relation at work place too. It helped me learn to control temper and to not backtalk even if the senior is wrong. Whether we like it or not, whether it is good or back, Indian systems function in hierarchies and this is the 1st lesson in life we got through ragging!!! Ragging helped us in learning humility, politeness, and to be comfortable with one’s personality and body.

I hold the personal opinion that there should be harmless ragging in the right manner, within limits of decency and human rights.  Harmless ragging means no physical infliction of pain should be involved and no demeaning act should be asked to perform. Such ragging is actually lots of fun and gives us good memories of college & hostel life.

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45 thoughts on “Memories of Ragging

  1. If it is happening in such a way means there is no problem.. even I will be a person who support this.. but it goes overboard..
    actually the juniors will have respect for seniors.. but what some seniors expects from them is fear.. they want to showcase themselves as superior.. at this point the friendly atmosphere changes into a dictatorship.. so obviously chaos will occur….
    And I am glad that you had a great time with your seniors and juniors.. :)
    And thanks for mentioning my post.. as I am a day scholar I didn’t get much instructions from my seniors on how to do things.. but there are some forgettable memories on ragging with me :(

    Reema: I think day scholars have a worse experience with ragging than hostelers. Your post was good!

    • i totally agree with you but remember one thing that ragging also developa an business man qualities i also suffered from the ragging it help me a lot
      at the time of ragging uguys respect ur senior know the meaning when u guys clear the final year then only u understand how tougher the world is

      Reema: Yes thats true!

  2. You seemed to have rocked!

    BTW, cusp of Libra and Scorpio’ll have a dimple??? damn! I shud’ve born a lil earlier! :D

    ragging never happened for us in college…cozGrad was in a women’s college…and post grad was one-yr, so we didnt have seniors! :D
    I did pose as a senior once and ragged a 1st gal from another stream….she found out in like half an hour (after obeying everything!) when she saw me smiling uncontrollably and break into laughter soon after!! Have to say, we all had fun!!! :D

    Reema: Actually Librans have dimples. As my senior had asked for Scorpio, I guessed she must be on cusp.

  3. You are right. harmless ragging is fun, and by harmless I mean physically and emotionally. Guess what, during my PG ragging, I was asked to wear a tie on a pretty looking girl named Roopa. It looked more like a wedding ceremony and my seniors were playing the traditional wedding music too. The embarassing part was that she was taller than me by several inches ;)

    Reema: Oh we had several of those “propose this girl, propose that girl” incident during our GRs.

  4. No doubt ragging is good! perfect platform for unity…. I don’t understand why parent created fear about ragging in mind of their son. This affects their mentality and they got psyched up on minor interaction issues…!!!! I know everyone is going to miss a major event of their life is ragging is ruled out!

    Reema: Students are psyched up about ragging due to the prior knowledge of bad incidents only!! Harmless ragging is surely something not be missed out on.

  5. Great post! I went almost “dreamy-dreamy” reading this post. How much fun the good old college life was… nostalgically memorable :-)

    Yes, I second your views. A good hearty college ragging should be there. What fun we all had during those good old days. I don’t know why the new generation become so sulky, panicky, violent and all emotional with ragging!!

    I never knew you were good in astrology!! Same pinch!! Ha ha. I was also the official astrologer in my college and still am in my office. I’ve stopped predictive astrology though. :-) I could also study faces and almost guess their astro sign. It was a maddening hobby. Those Linda Goodman days!! Ha ha :-)

    Keep Blogging!!

    Reema: Thanks! I guess the seniors too have become frustrated and violent and tend to cross the limits. I m only interested in sun signs!! that too now I m out of touch. Linda Goodman ki Jai ho!

  6. haha, brings me back memories of my ragging. i had to walk like a duck in the drain because i was late for a session. :lol: looking back, ragging is nothing compared to working life. at least during ragging you form friendships with the people you’re punished along with! :)

    but i don’t condone ragging. it’s really much too juvenile for people who are embarking on their professional life soon after. my experience didn’t give me fond memories of college, but i think in a way it did help us bond and make new friends.

    Reema: :D walk like a duck?? :lol: Ragging does give you lots of friends!

  7. As long as it is harmless – ragging is alright. I cannot fathom how people can be so cruel to others as to cause their death !

    You seem to have had fun during your college days !

    Reema: Yes I did!

  8. @Scorpriya: I have also done that posed as a senior and ragged a harmless pair of girl and boy who were actually my classmate. Of course, they found out next day when I too was being ragged with them by seniors.

    @Reema: I was a brat when it came to ragging. I didnt have to bear much in any case. I complied with harmless things like hindi usage n stuff. I kicked storm on stupid things and once it turned out one of my most obnoxious ‘seniors’ was my cousin’s friend. Bus that tames that senior. As a hosteller too, I didnt bear much. I was most vociferous of the lot so they let me be as they didnt want to lose right to rag others. ;) But nevertheless, I made friends with all of seniors later.

    You know postal department in Delhi is inviting memebership for some Philately club. You can buy a collection of stamps from them n stuff. Is there something like that in your city?

    Reema: I was the timid one :) Yes every post office has that. I wanted to become a member but then life got busy. :(

  9. hi Reema! ofcourse its lots of fun! but then i never had to go thru the serious kinds ragging!
    btwm whats my sun-sign eh!

    Reema: I think you are a water sign i.e. Cancer or Scorpio or Pisces. Am I right?

  10. Same here. We were and have ragged but fun ragging like making someone sing a song or asking them to wear something strange. There are times when some girls have no confidence whatsoever and they sweat when they see a boy or even a senior. These simple ragging measures actually help them and bring confidence but somewhere along the line some have become brutal.

    Reema: Yes the measures were really helpful in building confidence. Now I guess ragging has become a vent for frustration and sadism.

  11. you look cute in those specs and oily pigtails :D :D and i am glad that you have fond memories. In our college, many would not vouch for it!

    Reema: Yes medical colleges are infamous for their ragging.

  12. hmm.. maybe its coz I was brought up in Mumbai, I dont even accept this sorta ragging.. Eating last, calling seniors ma’am is fine, but respected and honourable doenst make sense. It just makes one feel lowly. When I have worked harder than my senoirs(competiton gets tougher every year) I dont see the reason why I should be ridiculed in that fashion.
    In this regard I think Mumbai is the best city. It lets you be. No one has the right to push you around.
    Btw, really nice photos.

    Reema: I guess it depends on everyone’s POV. We didn’t feel lowly by addressing our seniors that way!! How does giving someone else respect make oneself feel low or ridiculed?? I think it has nothing to do with city. People make the city not the other way round. thanks.

  13. This is such a typically u post :-) full of memories & making me nostalgic….

    Ragging wasn’t allowed in Banasthali but in Roorkee we were ragged but in a similar manner like urs.

    We were to call our seniors Sir & Ma’am, No western wear till freshers party, no going outside campus without permission and that too in groups. Late nights the seniors ursed to call us and expect us to entertain them but they were so busy ki half the time kucch nahin hota tha. Once they tried cross ragging and we boycotted it hehehe :-)

    But yes I agreed with most of the rules laid by them because in a way it helped us knowing the place better and we atleast knew our seniors…

    Reema: Hehehe!! Yes…just yesterday I organized farewell function of passing out batch and the juniors didn’t know 90% of their seniors!! It was bad. One of the juniors actually announced the name of a girl senior as Mr.XYZ instead of Miss.

  14. Reema, it is difficult to know when some seniors cross the line. In the present environment it is better to ban ragging for at least a few years.

    Reema: Why a few years? What will happen after that? More than banning we need awareness and open communication. We need to listen if a student complains.

  15. I think most people go overboard.. i’ve heard abt so many of those cases that i can’t believe this type of ragging u mentioned actually happens

    Reema: Well I don’t know if it does anymore but we had this way only.

  16. i never got ragged inspite of confronting my seniors abt the issue. i was wondering. did my build and stature scare them off!?! :D :P naa! i don work out. its just coz of overtime duty for my mouth. :mrgreen:

    Reema: Inspite of or due to ???

  17. to be honest with you, the ragging i experienced was just to pig tails with oil and 100RS chudidars to wear with no ear rings :P, singing etc gen stuff which makes the first time fear of brand new place vapourise and makes u feel friendly!!

    but nothing more than that…we had a very healthy relation with seniors [though our super seniors boycotted us, seniors took a lot of care like babies]
    we call them dids, dada, pardada etc

    Ya we did have to make their presentations, write their folders for lab etc but it was fun too :)

    ithose were golden days!

    Reema: Oh yes any sort of ornaments were banned too. Pardada?? :lol: yes those were wonderful days.

  18. you shouldn’t have blurred the other parts of the photo!!
    nice read…
    ragging can be fun too! erm, only “sometimes”

    Reema: There are other people too in the snaps. Have to keep their privacy in mind. Thanks!

  19. Hmm, I do not have fond memories of ragging from my college Miranda House in Delhi. I do not like ragging at all because at any time it can go from harmless and fun to irritating and annoying to positively dangerous. All it needs is a sadist. Also different people react to ragging differently. Some just hate even harmless ragging while some can take a lot of annoying stuff too. There is no way of knowing who can take what.

    Reema: Yes that is true but I guess it does take a sporting spirit to enjoy ragging.

  20. Ragging was strictly banned in my college. Professors were roaming around in the corridors of our college to keep a check.
    We were surrounded by our seniors on our first day, but only to sell their notes from previous year :-)

    I dont know what a healthy ragging will be like, but the very idea of someone telling me to do something just because they are senior would drive me mad. I think there can be other ways of making friendships and not necessarily have to be ragging coz u never know when someone goes overboard.

    Reema: Welcome to my blog. I guess you were a day scholar? Well I guess at every place in life seniors do tell us what to do!! be it senior by age or by position! And ragging does teach us patience. Keep visiting!

  21. I was never ragged in school or college. Both were very strict on these things. But I feel that if I had been ragged, I would have been better prepared to handle people in a work place. Initially I struggled but learnt fast. But I think the whole experience hardens you a bit more and equips you to face the realities of the world. And yes, hierarchy is the first thing I break in any organization. Not directly though!

    Destination Infinity

    Reema: Yes that is indeed true about ragging.

  22. Your post has made me nostalgic…

    R = Re-living
    A = A
    G = Great
    G = Game
    I = Involving
    N = New
    G = Guys n Galz

    Reema: Welcome to my blog. Nice!! Keep visiting!

  23. Ragging ……. I was made to remember Electronics and Communication Engineering in Hindi …. It was “Vidyutikaran avam dursanchaar abhiyaantriki” in Hindi …. Look how strong is my memorising power … lol

    An attempted suicide from a fresher this year deprived us of ragging our juniors :( ….. ragging is fun and during my first year , I enjoyed every bit of it …. i.e. being ragged :P

    Reema: Oh yes!! I have forgot all except my branch name :)

  24. Reema anything that is causing so much abuse – even deaths is better stopped. We also faced no unpleasant (well not too much atleast ) but I remember many freshers never came to the college for many initial weeks out of fear of ragging.

    Why not have ice breaking picnics and parties instead?My daughter’s school went for a picnic where all new comers were given a chance to sing, play act, speak, play games, and finally party with each other – it made it a pleasure to join a new place- no stress and still all the fun. I think ragging must have started like this but degenerated into bullying.

    Reema: School is a whole lot different thing from college level!! But yes this is a good suggestion.

  25. i never had any kind of ragging in my life so not sure how i would have reacted but this seems fun if done in a positive friendly manner. still i am happy not to have encountered it.

    Reema: Each to his own!! :)

  26. I do agree to harmless raggin which has intentions of making friends and not by payin a big price of someones life being taken away!

    Reema: Yes the limits have to be maintained.

  27. Given an amount of freedom, it does not take long for people to cross the thin line and end up being a sadist. We are really bad at handling freedom.
    I too was ragged in my college and hostel but it was harmless. But I know of some people who were mercilessly ragged and beaten up. I think the people who indulge in such things are mentally ill or have a very disturbing childhood.

    Reema: I think its all about what Sunil Dutt said in the movie Munnabhai MBBS. Nowadays people just need a way to vent out their frustrations, pent up anger and sadism.

  28. Reema even I think raging in limit is fine, it helps you face the world a little better after all everyone you meet is not gonna be nice to you.

    I have a had great experience ragging and being ragged.

    Reema: You could share some incident with us :)

  29. Well when I was in my Btech.. we had something similar..but never it went physical.. we were ridiculed so badly..that at times we’ll feel that..”am i really that bad”.. most of the seniors ordered us to wake them up for the nxt day’s classes…and rarely we were asked to do assignments… the fear of ragging was there among freshers for only 2-3 months..till the inter-hostel events start……the whole hostel from 1st-4th yr..everyone cheers for one name.. thats when the proper bonding forms between all of us..inter-hostel rivalry helps in creating more intra-hostel bonding..

    now am doing my MBA.. and here its al-together a diff story.. there is no ragging..instead from day 1 it starts with helping each other.. seniors take crashers for us.. special classes…material..suggestions..parties..No sir/madam nothing..everyone is equal here..and this will continue…later during the seniors placements..the juniors help them in providing them all required material..and all sorts of logistical help…

    Ragging is good at under-grad level.. cos it helps one to open up but still to be under control.. the seniors form some kind of guardians/custodians…which is good.. you respect your peers..wat starts with ragging..will eventually ends up as good friendship…

    Sorry ….that was a long comment..
    btw am following you even in twitter
    @just08in
    with this I end the tsunami of comments on ur blog!

    Reema: Its ok! You can type as long comments as you want at my blog. I am following you too!

  30. A good perspective. I faced harmless ragging too. It was fun – like getting a senior change for Rs.500 in the form of Re.1 coins.

    But like you said, you need to draw the line between ragging and abuse.What happened with Aman Kachru was outrageous.

    Reema: Yes the limits must be known and followed.

  31. Gone are the days when ragging was just a way for conditioning the juniors. Gone are the days when ragging was just light humor.

    Reema: Welcome to my blog. Yes thats true :( Keep visiting!!

  32. Hey Reema,

    It almost felt like as if I was writing this post :)…yes, I agree that constructive ragging is a part of gelling in to the culture of the college and in many ways, brings in the discipline into your life especially if you are training to be a professional…

    Your oiled hair pic reminded me of my college days with mismatched suits, oils and plats with colorful braod ribbons:)..

    You write very well.Look forward to read more of you

    cheers,Gee

    http://www.loveacrossbridges.wordpress.com

  33. Hmmm… this was a post I had to comment on. No option.

    Having gone through ragging twice (I was in DCE before joining IITKgp), I really do not see the whole point of it all. True, it might be useful in institutions where you need people to unite and come together (like the army, defence forces et. al). But what is the point of ragging in an educational institution?

    We go to college to learn. What if some incident in ragging handicaps me in some way? There were instances of ragging in IITKgp – This Year – where seniors slapped the juniors and “unintentionally” the eardrum of a student got damaged. Slapping is very common. Everybody is slapped. Even I was. It has only made me distant from those of my friends who support ragging and go on to take it through to the next level.

    Why do I need to remove clothes (seniors asked me to) when I can do as well with clothes.

    And what about mild ragging? Should it encouraged? I see no point. No point in drawing a line. Otherwise it simply doesn’t stop. Anwayz, it would take a little longer to know more people. That is all.

    And finally, my CGPA dipped because of ragging (we have ragging in the second year in IITKgp because we are isolated in the first year in separate hostels!). Will it be written in my certificate that Mainak Jas had to go through ragging. That is why he isn’t clear on his concepts. That is why he has poor grades in a particular semester.

    P.S: This could have been a post in itself I guess. But I had to explain the whole situation. How it is – even after “Ragging is officially banned and punishable”.

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