Putting an end to the age-old menace of ragging: Time for serious measures

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For far too long, the dark spectre of ragging has haunted the halls of educational institutions, casting a long shadow over the lives of countless students.

The recent incident at a government medical college in Himachal Pradesh's Kangra confirms that despite efforts to curb this menace, it continues to rear its ugly head, inflicting physical and psychological trauma on its victims.

Ragging, once considered a rite of passage or a harmless tradition, is now a severe issue demanding urgent attention. The harrowing accounts of MBBS students allegedly subjected to abuse, humiliation, and violence by their seniors are not isolated incidents but symptoms of a deeper malaise ingrained within our educational culture.

For aeons, ragging has been normalized, rationalized, and romanticised as part of the college experience. However, such complacency only perpetuates a toxic cycle of bullying and intimidation, leaving indelible scars on impressionable minds. It's high time we recognize that there's nothing benign or acceptable about subjecting fellow students to mental anguish and physical harm under the guise of "seniority" or "tradition."

The recent actions taken by Tanda Medical College (TMC) to expel and penalize the perpetrators are commendable, but they are merely a tiny step in the right direction. We need a concerted effort from all stakeholders—educational institutions, authorities, parents, and students—to uproot this evil from its core.

First and foremost, there must be a zero-tolerance policy towards ragging, backed by stringent laws and regulations. It's imperative that educational institutions enforce strict disciplinary measures and ensure the safety and well-being of every student on campus. Anti-ragging committees, helplines, and counselling services should be established to provide victims with the support they need to speak out against their tormentors.

It is to address the root causes of ragging, which often stem from hierarchical structures, peer pressure, and a culture of impunity. Education and awareness programs should be implemented to foster a culture of empathy, respect, and inclusivity among students. We can dismantle the toxic norms perpetuating ragging by promoting positive interactions.

Also, parents and guardians play a crucial role in shaping the attitudes and behaviour of their children. It's incumbent upon them to instil values of compassion, integrity, and tolerance from a young age, teaching them to treat others with dignity and empathy.

The time has come to confront the scourge of ragging head-on and implement concrete measures to eradicate it. We owe it to our students to provide an environment conducive to learning and personal growth, free from fear and intimidation. Let us stand united in our resolve to build a future where every student can pursue their dreams without the fear of being preyed upon by their peers.