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Pranks or Ragging in Educational Institutions: Where is the Line?

In the year 2009, the University Grants Commission of India levied regulations upon Indian universities and colleges to curtail ragging in educational premises. They launched a toll-free ‘anti-ragging helpline’ to further assist students. While ragging is a form of bullying, it often varies in degree and is easier to recognize.

However, sometimes despite the preventive laws and regulations, illicit elements engineer their way through loopholes. Often we hear instances of ragging in colleges and Universities that go unheeded. These unreported cases can have a traumatic effect on students. Degree of such actions vary, and on occasions take a serious turn. There have been a few reported cases that have caught the media and country’s attention. But most of the ‘harmless pranks and bullying’ continues to exist in most of India’s colleges and Universities.

GYV spoke to students from prestigious Indian colleges and Universities, who on the condition of keeping their name anonymous shared their experiences with us.

The followings are real life incidents of ragging in educational institutions.

Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh

Ragging in educational institution in the name of discipling!

Ragging in educational institutions, Global Youth Voice, gyv
BHU, Varanasi

2017-2020, Medical Lab Technology student at BHU said that fresh years are said to follow certain rules. These rules as per traditions are said to aim at disciplining freshers. “Seniors have to be referred as boss and ma’am all the time. Juniors also have to bow down to seniors and greet them every time they see them. If a senior visits your classroom, students must stand up and show respect. The ragging did not just stop in the college premise, it continued at hostels too. Juniors cannot enter seniors’ buildings and dorms. Seniors would also lash out at juniors when they were celebrating birthdays”, said the now BHU alumni.


Birsa Agriculture University, Ranchi, Jharkhand

2017-2018 fresh year student from BAU shares scary experiences of ragging in the University premise. In sophomore years, girls and boys have strict instructions to follow a dress code which is otherwise unofficial. They had to abide by these rules even after college hours. The student further added, “While our grievances were mostly about dress code and vulgar pranks, boys got the worse treatment in the hostels. They had to parade naked on chilly winter midnights only in their underwears and climb trees. Further, seniors also forced them to shave their heads. They asked us to imitate sexual positions, and the hostel ID for boys was condoms. If a senior would not find one with the freshman, the junior would be punished.”


St. Xavier’s College, Ranchi, Jharkhand

Ragging in educational institution in the garb of authoritarianism!

Many St. Xavier’s College Ranchi alumni have shared horrific accounts of their experiences in the college. But unfortunately, nobody is ever willing to come on record. On one such account, a 2015-2018 student shared his lived experiences at the St. Xavier’s boys hostel. Since the college only provides an on campus hostel facility to boys, parents and students find the option safe and easy initially. Here is the account of the student. He spoke with a GYV team member, “The boys hostel is a nightmare for many as the warden promotes hooliganism and gangism. The authorities favor the seniors so much that even official complaints go unnoticed. The seniors parade the boys naked and pressurize them to perform vulgar sexual activities with a tree. Complaining about anything is no option at all as there will be more bullying, ragging, and discrimination.”


Rajiv Gandhi Proudyogiki Vishwavidyalaya, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh

A 2016 passout of the engineering college says that these traditions are age old and continue with every new batch. “Juniors are made to clean the toilets, rooms and clothes. Further juniors have to cross dress and dance. This is not new, and in my opinion it only prepares juniors for the real tough world”, the alumnus added.


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