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Ragging – Boon or bane!

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Dr Gaurav Thukral, Chief Operating Officer, HealthCare atHOME provides an insight into how ragging helped him academically as well as professionally during his college years 
I read a recent episode of mass ragging at a medical university in UP which was picked up by the media. The news article stated that the college was threatened with a fine of Rs 1.5 crore in case it failed to take any action on the incident.
This news piece catapulted me to my initial days in medical college. We were just a bunch of smugs who were lined up in white robes and had to look at the ‘third button’ as a mark of respect to the seniors. All of us present had just cracked the tough PMT exam which not many in our near vicinity had been able to clear. Our seniors made us witness and experience a saga of subordination, making us do all kinds of chores for them. We were rebuked, beaten up for no fault of ours and even paraded naked.
But, at the same time, I think ragging has it better aspects too. For instance:
  • The people of our batch who were holed up together in the same hall of the hostel developed an unsaid bond due to facing the same adversary.
  • The seniors who behaved like demons were the most helpful and caring when it came to wading through the tough challenges of the five and half year course.
  • The general ragging was followed by a feast which was paid for by the seniors.
  • The efforts to remember the whole ragging literature or the names of all seniors from five batches senior to us, at one end prepared us for the lots which one needs to remember in the next five years, but also prepared us how to personalise relations on the base of name and place of residence.
  • After a shielded adolescence, ragging helped one to handle situations on our own.

Thus, I feel that ragging was an important component of my professional and personal growth.

However, it is undeniable that certain things about ragging can be avoided. Physical violence which was accepted as a norm or ragging due to caste, regional differences, which led to undue harassments were totally uncalled for.

Moreover, there are several forms of ragging that we face in various walks of our life but no one talks of banning. For instance:

  • Long working hours during post graduation.
  • Dancing to the whims and fancies of your thesis guide.
  • Long working hours during your job (corporate or otherwise).
  • Undue family pressures.

These above incidents are painful but teach us important lessons in life. But, I also agree that extremism is bad for all forms and the same is true for ragging as well. A balance needs to be maintained. I could rely on a helping hand from any of my seniors as a right. I am not sure people studying medicine today can claim the same!

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