Dibrugarh Uni ragging incident: Indian Universities reality exposed

Dibrugarh Uni ragging incident: Indian Universities reality exposed


It is painful to imagine what the victim of the ragging incident in Assam’s Dibrugarh University had to go through. Anand Sarma, a first semester commerce student, who was attacked by a group of seniors, jumped from the second floor of his hostel building to save himself. Now the young student is fighting for his life in the ICU of the local hospital.

According to the details that have emerged so far, the incident follows months of bullying that the victim has endured. This was despite the matter being brought before the university authorities. According to his mother, for a long time, the elders would often not let Anand sleep at night, ordering him to bring them food and wine and wash their dirty dishes with him.

Sadly, while the agony of Anand’s ordeal helped him grab the headlines, such cases are by no means uncommon. Through the allegation she has made, the victim’s mother has not only spoken for her son, but revealed a part of the murky inner life of many higher education institutions not just in Assam but in India.

Just in early November, four students from SRKR Engineering College in Andhra Pradesh were arrested for allegedly beating a student with PVC pipes and burning his hands and chest. In the same month, two differently-abled students from Jadavpur University also accused a senior of physically bullying them. In October, an IIT-Kharagpur student from Assam was found dead under mysterious circumstances, widely believed to be a case of ragging. And the list can only go on.

Bullying, including ragging, also takes the most myriad of forms, from overt acts of physical abuse to more subtle behaviors. As any keen observer of student life in India can understand, the latter forms often involve exhorting students, especially juniors, to commit acts that could easily be considered obscene and sexist. can be classified as Unfortunately, more often than not, these are the only events that are talked about and leave more ‘strong marks’. Most others still don’t get what amounts to bullying.
While most of the leading organizations globally have long since left such practices behind, it is a pity that many Indian organizations are still struggling to break free from such petty behavior.

But what causes such misbehavior within organizations?

Of course, the first stop where liability can be determined is at the institution’s management. It can be said that there is an inverse proportional relationship between such excesses and declining standards of institutional governance.

However, changing this does not involve intensifying policing of students. In the context of the ongoing conversation, what is needed instead is this: College and university administrations must tune their systems to not only strictly prevent bullying, but before it occurs. The worse the situation, the more likely it is to intervene.
However, while it is important to address institutional governance issues, this in itself is an insufficient measure.

The tendency to bully, to engage in ragging on someone younger, seems to be nurtured by cultures that privilege masculinity, promote aggression, favor discipline. While aspiring to exercise authority and enforce hierarchy. It would not be an exaggeration to claim that such values ​​still prevail in most Indian societies.

Perhaps, this explains why most stakeholders have so far failed to accept the seriousness of the scourge of bullying in institutions. Unless something really gets out of hand, as in Anand’s case, bullying and even ragging are considered normal, nothing more than light-hearted banter. Even the convicts of the 2009 Aman Kacharoo ragging case, perhaps the most famous of its kind, were released before completing their four-year jail term and further completed their MBBS education program. was allowed to do.

One of the more effective ways to combat this threat, therefore, is to counter the value judgments that encourage bullying among students. But it has to go far beyond the odd anti-ragging awareness marches or orientation programs that are routinely held at the start of every academic session.

Instead, it calls for institutional stakeholders, including teachers, student leaders, and administration, to recognize the individuality of each student, their legitimate right to free access, fair treatment, and equal participation in institutional spaces. It is a bold commitment. From such a commitment may emerge a new pedagogy, one that promotes respect for the individual, emphasizes the indispensability of consent, the importance of democratic practices and the value of affirming difference.
This is perhaps the best guarantee to push back the culture of violence that produces strife among students within institutions as well as in the society beyond it. As Anand lies in his hospital bed, it also presents a moment to reaffirm our commitment to students.

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