While close to 40 per cent students in colleges across India faced some kind of ragging, only 8.6 per cent reported the incidents, a study funded by University Grants Commission (UGC) on the directions of Supreme Court has found out.
The study also found language and region to be the basis of more than 25 per cent ragging incidents, while caste was a factor in 8 per cent cases. It also discovered that ragging was more rampant in professional colleges, with nearly 60 per cent students being targeted.
Titled ‘Psychosocial Study of Ragging in Selected Educational Institutions in India’, the report is based on a survey conducted among over 10,000 students in 37 colleges across the country.
The research team was led by a committee of scholars from the Jawaharlal Nehru University. It was mandated by a 2009 Supreme Court order to study the prevalence, causes and solutions to ragging menace in universities. The committee included as members Prof Mohan Rao, Dr Shobna Sonpar, Dr Amit Sen, Prof Shekhar P Seshadri, Harsh Agarwal and Divya Padalia.
Highlighting social discrimination in ragging, the report said, “Caste-based discrimination was admitted by eight per cent of students; however, high percentages were reported from colleges in the North. Caste- and gender-based discriminations are most prevalent in a government medical college in UP.”
According to the study, a significant number of students (32 per cent) enjoyed ragging, while over 60 per cent said after ragging their seniors helped them. The study, however, noted that almost 60 per cent students had negative emotions about ragging and nearly 65 per cent didn’t get along with seniors who ragged them. The study cited this data to bust the myth that ragging helped freshers bond with seniors.
In its gender-wise analysis, the report said: “While the percentage of male students being ragged is higher, there is a great deal of ragging in girls, although of a different kind. More than physical, overt, explicit ragging, girls indulge in more subtle and psychological forms of ragging that are more difficult to observe but can be equally or more damaging…”
The report said more than 25 per cent students reported loss of concentration in studies after being ragged. It claimed that about 4 per cent students are subjected to “sexual” ragging with acting out sexual scenes, narrating stories with sexual content and stripping being top demands by seniors.
About the reasons behind ragging, the report said: “The motives of seniors to rag seen to lie predominantly in their desire to feel powerful, to follow college tradition, to get over their own ragging experience and to feel grown-up.”
While 33.8 per cent students said that ragging helped build confidence and 34.8 per cent felt it made them mentally strong, over 65 per cent felt that it had lasting emotional impact and harmed self-confidence.
Although the report noted fair bit of acceptance for ragging among students and administration, it also cited data to show significant repulsion, even among seniors. The survey highlighted that almost two-third of seniors did not approve of ragging and over 50 per cent felt sorry for their juniors being subjected to it. It said that close to one third of the seniors even intervened to stop it.