Torture, an amusement?

“Wild animals never kill for sport. Man is the only one to whom the torture and death of his fellow creatures is amusing in itself.”

Before I set on to start pouring in my thoughts, I’d like to highlight words handpicked from the aforementioned saying: “Man”, “torture”, “fellow creatures”, “amusing”.

Has India come a long way? Economically yes, but can we say the same to the ongoing instances of human torture? More so, to those inflicted upon the so called ‘JUNIORS’ by the very big-headed ‘SENIORS’? I am afraid but it’s a big NO.

Years of hard work, commitment and an urge to fulfil one’s dreams paves way for a student to set on to the journey of making something out of himself. A college or an institution moulds these aspirations. The so called ‘seniors’ are supposed to role-play our family, our mentors and our benefactors. It is really very saddening to see inhuman behaviour, negligence and haplessness reigning supreme in various colleges owing to what we commonly hear as ‘RAGGING’.

As freshers step into colleges they are filled with hope, which is overshadowed by a fear of being subjected to the whims and atrocities at the hands of their seniors. In the name of ragging one is made to do acts such as stripping, drinking, breaking rules, physical torture, addressing seniors as “SIRS/MADAM’S”, no counter questioning.

Such heinous acts are justified as “it’s a way of opening up, knowing the seniors, being familiar with the institution”. Why justify an act which instils insecurity, fear, dejection in the mind of a hopeful newcomer. Many also defend it by saying “as long as its not sexually exploitive it’s okay!”. I fail to understand as to how can we set limits for it? To me the matter of concern is not the categorisation but the existence! Just because you are in the college a year or so before me, in no way gives you the right to ‘torture’ me for your ‘amusement’ and proving your seniority! The seniors too were juniors once.

Many such raggers come from well to do families so should we doubt their upbringing? Even top notch institutions are not new to this menace.

Many institutions claim to have strong anti-ragging laws and very few actually succeed in implementing the same. The doers are set free after minor punishment. Money can buy anything, even the integrity of the administration who cannot expel the accused for they bring in donations. How many “Aman Kachroo” will we sacrifice? Even if he would have had survived the gruesome atrocity, who would have had guaranteed him a peaceful afterlife, caressed his wounds? Cases of raggings are very common in medical colleges. The perpetrators are our future doctors. How can we trust our lives with them? Even if they might have escaped social boycott or personal remorse they cannot escape being called as ‘disgraceful humans’.

What we need today is a strict enforcement of laws and awareness about the aftermath of such acts. It should be banned not only because its inhuman but because you and me have a single life to live, so why not live it in harmony?

The Dr. Raghavan Committee, lead by Dr. R.K.Raghavan (former Director of the CBI) was construed by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, on the orders of the hon’ble Supreme Court of India. The committee has made several valuable recommendations to curb the menace of ragging, including that the “… civil society should be included in this exercise”. Many online groups like Coalition to Uproot Ragging from India (CURE), Stopragging, India’s first and only registered Anti Ragging NGO, Society Against Violence in Education (SAVE) have supported the anti ragging cause.

Let us not make torture a sport. Let us stand for the cause for as much as it’s easy to sit here and read about such instances it’s equally difficult and harassing to face the same. You do not want to be ragged, nor do I, nor did ‘Aman Kachroo” and the various other victims, some of those whose grievances have been brought to light and some whose pains simply died a silent death.

Lets make this a reality.

Let’s be humans first.

Reshma Soni

*This piece has been selected as the Winning Entry of the Day for the ‘Viewspaper Express Yourself Writing Competition’*