Friday, July 16, 2010

The Real Problem: Society

For all the measures taken to control ragging, the real problem is seldom addressed. And that is: a general criminal-mindset in society. Our society is such that it's become 'cool' to break the law. Overpowering the powerless creates an image of being all-mighty.

All the measures against ragging, in general, hope to prevent people from breaking the law (ragging is a crime, after all) rather than encouraging them to respect it. It's the same thing in society: you never jump a signal when a policeman is around, but if there is no policeman you'd do it without thinking twice despite the great risk to life. These two issues might seem unrelated but are actually two sides of the same coin.

Another problem is acceptance of crime in society. The so-called middle class in India is ready to accept crime and even torture until it comes to their doorstep. That's what happened in the Aman Kachroo case: his family chose to ignore his complaints until it was too late. Society at large does that until something terrifying - like death - happens. Nobody ever thinks that their child could be next.

A Misconception
For some reason, probably stereotyping, people believe that boys and only boys can rag their juniors. This is simply untrue: girls can be equally capable of brutally ragging junior girls in the most humiliating ways possible. Remember that girl from Andhra Pradesh who forced to dance in the nude by her seniors, all girls?

And perhaps the most heinous of these is an old case of ragging where a fresher girl was gang raped by some senior boys in the name of ragging.

So, is the solution to ragging moral science then? Telling people to respect the law, nay, respect other human beings? In a way, it is. Not entirely, of course. It would be stupid to assume that teaching morals could solve crime (we would not need the police then). But what we need is to somehow make people respect the law. That won't be easy, and it will have to start with being afraid of the law, or the consequences of breaking it to be precise. But eventually, for society at large and more specifically on the issue of ragging, people have to learn to respect the law.

Also, there is the need to respect fellow human beings. Most of the time, ragging is a means to stoke a senior's naive sense of (false) pride, that by hurting someone who cannot fight back he is somehow extracting revenge on someone who did the same to him. There is no thought given to the fact that a few people whose age varies by just 3-4 years are just about the same and, at a fundamental level, respect between two human beings has to be mutual and has to be earned.

Next: Modern methods, so to say

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