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Ragging: A public health problem in India

Keywords: Bullying , cultural committee , disciplinary committee , ragging , reasons , steps

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Abstract:

Ragging is any disorderly conduct that has the effect of teasing or handling with rudeness any student, which causes or is likely to cause annoyance, harm or to raise fear in a junior so as to adversely affect the psyche of the junior. Ragging is practiced all over the world, with different nomenclature like hazing, fagging; bapteme in French; doop in Dutch; and Mopokaste in Finnish. The first recorded cases of ragging were in the 8 th century BC during the Olympics in Greece. Ragging has been frequently associated with a broad spectrum of physical, behavioral, emotional and social problems among the victims. It independently increases suicide risks. Some of the reasons given by students for ragging are they were also ragged by their seniors; sense of superiority; and introduction. Other factors perpetuating ragging are use of alcohol in hostels and lack of implementation of serious anti-ragging measures by college authorities. Various practical steps to control ragging must include strict role of authorities, ban on alcohol within college and hostels, surprise raids in hostels at night, postings (with accommodation) of wardens in hostels, separate hostels for juniors, presence of college "disciplinary committee" and "cultural committee," strict punishments for those involved in ragging, actions by Medical Council of India (MCI) and University Grants Commission (UGC) against the erring colleges and universities and formulation of anti-ragging laws. Ragging should be declared a public health problem because it involves the physical, mental and social exploitation of not only an individual but also of his/her family and the society as a whole.

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