Ragging in universities: A grooming in disguise or a psychological personality deformation?

It is the first day of Mubashir at a reputable university of his country. He has been selected in an engineering program. He has traveled all the way from lower Punjab to absorb education at a standard university of Islamabad. Walking towards the gate, he thinks about his hard work which landed him a spot in his field. He thinks about his parents, whom he’ll miss in his hostel days. And he thinks about his future. What will happen?

As he crosses past the gate with these perturbing thoughts, a couple of senior college fellows grab him and start shouting:

“WHERE’S YOUR WISH? We are seniors here….From now on, whenever you see us-REFER TO US AS ‘SIR'”

Confused in his individuality, he refers to them as “SIR” and walks on. He spends the whole day thinking what had just happened. At night, he hears a thumping sound on his hostel door. He opens the door. To his horror, he sees almost half of college waiting for him.

Looks like everyone wants a piece of this young boy from the small town. They make him introduce himself in an underwear, chant hilarious political slogans at the top of his voice, order him to do a Nargis dance, pass coins from mouth to mouth to his fellow degree mates, lick tied lollipops off the ceiling and other whatnot. This goes on for about two weeks.

Now every senior is chill with Mubashir. But deep down Mubashir still thinks why the start of his university took such a ridiculing turn at his fate?

Almost each of the college grads in our country has a story similar like Mubashir’s. Ragging is a stereotype commonly practiced in the universities of Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka. It is “supposed” to instil a sense of confidence and self-esteem among the newly joined freshies of a college who are living away from their parents, possibly for the first time in life. Ragging is supposed to show a college kid what life outside comfort zone tastes like!

To some extent, it’s true. Ragging does boost morale. But some extreme cases show college teens entering into a state of wretchedness and depression. They adopt a feeling of cynicism towards their seniors (never forgiving them in their hearts) and acquire a sadistic nature for the upcoming degree. They feel that their seniors violated their respect so they must torture the upcoming batch and thus the self-perplexing cycle of the inferiority complex continues.

The conclusion I feel I must pen down is that college is a place where a student invests his money to acquire knowledge and basic skills of life. Ragging is fun as long as it is in limits and doesn’t hurt the feelings of the victim. Otherwise feelings are destroyed, grudges are born, adolescent personalities are stained and this vile paranoia continues to haunt the upcoming degrees aspirants who take admission in future.

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