November 19, 2010

IT’S WE PARENTS AND TEACHERS WHO CREATE RAGGERS OUT OF OUR CHILDREN

I am sure that after reading the heading, everyone must be restless to know how? But have some patience. It’s a story I repeat often. And I must repeat it again today. As a child, I remember having considerable friends in school. I am sure everyone has. But my friends’ circle from the very beginning had a specialty – it had only those people who were all very, very good in studies. If you are wondering how, the answer to that is in the place I used to stay, and still stay; a locality called Chittaranjan Park in New Delhi. This was originally that locality in Delhi where all those who had gotten displaced from Bangladesh during the partition were given a place to settle down. So, it used to be called the ‘EPDP colony’ i.e. East Pakistan Displaced Persons’ colony. This locality had its very special characteristics – maybe someday I will write about them all – including the one I referred to; i.e. it gave me, during my very early childhood, a group of friends who were all toppers! Being a locality of mostly lower middle class displaced people, the relatively well-to-do amongst them – that is, those who were middle class – managed to put their children in public schools like mine – the reputed Delhi Public School (DPS) – and believed the only way out of this lower middle class or middle class existence was to be exceptional in studies. Of course, coupled up with the Bengali orientation towards arts and literature, our locality produced some of the most brilliant students for our school. So, if our school had 15 buses and 150 scholar badge holders (the ones who excelled in studies), I believe more than a fifth of those students used to go in the bus that used to go through CR Park. My father being a teacher, he attracted friendship with all those parents whose children were toppers; and that’s how most of my friends were exceptional in studies!

It’s a different story – again to be told some other day – that as I grew up in life and started making friends of my choice, I changed this very friends’ circle. But for now, for this editorial, I will stay with the story of these friends. Lower middle/middle class. Very good in studies. From timid Bengali art and culture loving families. And typically weak built, as most Bengalis were and still are. If someone were to have told me then that these boys would go on to become partial murderers of the Aman Kachroos of this country, I would have shouted “impossible” at the top of my voice. They were/are from good families. Toppers of their respective schools and classes for heaven’s sake; and most importantly, of such weak built that they couldn’t even have harmed a fly! But as time unfolded, I saw just that happen in front of my eyes. They went on to become the topmost raggers of this country. Here is the story how.

I remember how these boys studied like crazy. Their aim was to top in the class. And being the son of a teacher, who knew something about education, I used to be surprised at what my friends were doing. My father had always told me that it was not important in life to get high marks. He told me to be good – again, the emphasis was not on high marks but on expansiveness of reading – in English and Maths as that was all that mattered in life. Rest, he asked me to do what I loved doing; and to develop passion. So luckily, I had a relaxed childhood and grew up really loving my father. His support for my endeavours was my biggest strength. And he was always questioning things himself. I remember when I was in class 1 or so – yes, some memories remain etched in your mind – when one night at 12 my father picked up the phone and gave a piece of his mind to our school principal. He was seething with anger that the school had given so much homework that I hadn’t been able to finish the same on time. I remember him criticising our schooling system, weighing my bag every now and then, and getting furious with anger seeing it weighing so heavily on my back. And while my father advised me not to run aft r marks, he did motivate me to read books. He once said, “Read so that those scholar badge holders feel ashamed of their lack of intellect when they talk to you.” And I spent my childhood reading and reading and reading more books. I didn’t get a scholar badge, still, I have no guilt because my parents never expected one. And today, I thank God that I didn’t get one. That’s why I know what education is about.

Coming back to my friends. I remember how even after my class 10th board exams, I wouldn’t find many of these friends of mine to play cricket with – because their coaching for the IIT entrance exams had already started. They studied hard. They did not play hard. In fact, they almost got locked up in their respective rooms for three to four years of their lives leading to the class 12th board examinations. The reason was that they had to make it to the IITs. Upon being asked why they wanted to go to an IIT, the standard response was, "Papa has said so; so I want to go to IIT." I would hear my neighbours shout at their kids that the neighbour’s kids had gotten into IIT – they were obviously referring to some other neighbour, not me – or that their relatives’ kids had gone to IIT. They would reprimand and rebuke their kids comparing them to donkeys who would put their parents to shame by not being able to make it…“Poor kids,” I would think. They missed out on the good tournaments we had, the new films which came and much more than that, they lost their individuality and personality. My friends never realised their over zealous parents were making them dwarfed forever.

And finally, after all that, most of them made it! Made it to some of the country’s brightest engineering and medical colleges. By then, most of them were just friends of mine. Not good friends. Because I had made up my set of good friends who had more to their character than mugged up knowledge of text book material. But nevertheless, I remained friends, so I kept a track of their lives. Something that interested me very much was how all my engineering friends ditched their parents and went on to stay in campus hostels even if they stayed a stone’s throw away from their institutions. The same reflected later in life when they all – one and all almost – decided to go abroad or at the least away from the town where their parents stayed... making CR Park today a place of old parents living in the false glory of their children going to IITs etc, while hiding the pain of the fact that actually they went away… at times, these parents are left behind with a semi-retarded second son who never made it to IIT; but never made it in life too because the parents thought nothing of him, so he indeed became nothing. You are but what your parents make of you after all! When parents say you are a winner, you become a winner. When they say you are a loser. You are destined to be a loser…

But what happened to the so called winners? Those who made it to the IITs? Well, their first months in IIT were traumatic to say the least. They would cry in front of me. They couldn’t take in the humiliation of ragging. The humiliation of being stripped totally naked and being made to run around the IIT Delhi campus. After all, after four years of exile and being locked up in their rooms while their commerce and arts friends made merry and socialised, my friends now wanted to socialise too. But alas, this is what they were getting in return! This is what their papas had put them into! The engineering and medical colleges of India are the havens of the worst possible ragging in this country. Why? Because these boys who went searching for socialisation got nothing. To socialise, they need to have normal people around. Unfortunately, those locked up in rooms for three or four years aren’t really normal. And most importantly, a healthy socialisation happens when there is a good ratio of the opposite sex. They keep men sane. But when you reach an institution where the girls’ ratio is ten to fifteen per cent and often less, you know your next four years are doomed. So then your socialisation takes perverted and sadistic forms.

And that’s when you call a junior and tell him, "This is my underwear. You will wash it for the next one year. And yes, before that, open your underwear and run around the campus first." And these were the set of seniors my friends encountered. They were aghast. I was aghast too. Not then; but next year. My friends – those weak, timid, book muggers – were now meeting me all excited. Why? Well, the new batch had just come in. And it was just awesome to make them run naked around in the IIT Delhi campus (in a mob those thin and weak looking Bengali boys were also heros). I protested, “Weren’t you crying last year, my friend, that it was so ugly and so humiliating? And today you are a part of this?” Pat came the reply, “Arindam, in this one year, we realised one thing... Ragging se personality banti hai boss...” I was studying management and behavioural science then. And I knew by then their personalities had become retarded forever. And by pushing them so much, their parents had not only lost them forever, they had also made them potential ragging killers too.

Their concepts of socialisation had become perverted because they never had a proper social life. They never found the joy of becoming passionate readers, sportsmen, friends and normal human beings. Their suppressed frustration and lack of guidance forced them unknowingly to take to ragging as a release – rather a volcanic eruption – against the years of suppression at home and forced-focus on a pathetic notion of education undertaken not to fulfill their own desires and wishes but to fulfill their parents’ inferiority complexes vis a vis their social circle. Last year alone, there were 19 ragging deaths in India and four attempted suicides according to a report by CURE – Coalition to Uproot Ragging from Education – and needless to say, the incidence of perverted and inhuman ragging being highest in engineering and medical colleges of India.

The Supreme Court of India has passed orders against ragging; but education being a state subject, most states have failed to implement the orders properly. In the last six months itself, the ragging helpline has received more than 1.5 lac calls. Lack of fear of punishment is one reason why ragging prevails unchecked. But at one point of time, the parents must take a moment off and think. Did they give the right education to their children? Or while forcing them to study like maniacs, did they actually make them potential ragging killers? And teachers should also answer one question. Did they give the right lessons of life to their children or did they only concentrate on finishing their wretched course syllabus?

Oh yes, these same boys, upon realising that engineering was never something they wanted to do (and after wasting about fifteen to twenty lacs of taxpayers’ money, which subsidised their education), went ahead and made their lives on their own. Without their papa’s advice this time. Many of them cracked the CAT and went to the IIMs. It’s a place where the population has 85 to 90 per cent engineers (the girls there are also as less, keeping socialising dreams here too at bay). Great input, making a great environment indeed for the country’s premier business schools – thanks to the irrational admission system called CAT – which is supposed to make and host the country’s best personalities! The ‘personalities’ do learn all the mathematics and management formulas very well for sure. But people skills? Well, you can imagine how much of people skills can be imparted to those who bring to IIMs this superb learning, “Ragging se personality banti hai boss!”

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31 comments:

vaishnavi said...

tarin ji ragging mare drastikon se ek aisa gharnatmak aapradh hai,itni hirdayvidarak ghatnaoe ke baad bhee hamare dash ki kanoon vayavastha ki vahi dhool mool niti hai.hamari bhartiya sanskriti mai hame bacpan se, vishesh kar ladkiyo ko yahi paath padya jata hai, ki bade se bade apradh hone per bhe apne sahansheelta jari rakho ragging ke virudh ek aise jan aandolen ki jaroot jise is krur or sharmnak aapradh se apne masoom bacco ko bchaya ja sake.khud ko va apne baccho ko shreshtta ki is aandi daud me dauda kar jayda tar parents ne apne masoom bacchon ki masoomiat unse chin li hai, mata pita ka aviral sneh, dada dadi ki kahania vo chupa chupi ke khel is visheli aadhnikta me vilupt ho gaye hai or rah gaye shesh yeh vayarth ki aapa dhapi jisme khood ki jaan ko bhet chadana padta hai.vaise aaj ke yug mei sabko aapke jaise mahan pita ke putr hone ka soubhagya prapt nahi hota.ache sanskaaro ke aabhav me bacche aise apradh ko anjaam dete hai,or kisi aaprad ke virudh sammuhik roop se aawaj uthaani aaj kal kisi ki fitart me nahi.vo kehte hai na jake paavn pade na bivai vo kya jaane peer parie!

ANTI EVETEASING said...

You have hit the nail on the head.That's how our education system is functioning. It's good that you are bringing in quite a lot of change thro your institutions & surely the so called elite (IIM ,IIT etc) will object as they are the products of a skewed mentality.

J said...

its the first time that i feel your article is irrational. The proofs u gave to support your title are'nt convincing. Ragging has more common and avoidable causes which have been ignored. The only point hitting d bulls eye is m:f ratio.

Technology Journal said...

I think it is the ByProduct of the violence and frustration in the society. Here I agree with youi that uprooting poverty from roots can bring harmony to the nation.

Then how it can be done, instead of creating a database of poor people using 3,000 crore Rs. if an enterprise is started which help these poor souls earn a livelihood with honour would have been a better option. The project itself is likely to complete in four years. A PSU names " Mera Asli Bharat" ,would have achieved the dream of giving respect rather than "bheek" to the poor.

At home there are worst cases of domestic violence, then why international relations can not learn from that.

Yes we can live in Harmony and end all forms of Social Raggings.

Seema Karecha said...

So well written!

The seeds of this behaviour are sown as early as the toddler days. Little ones, barely able to walk and still sucking thumbs, are pushed towards daycare by career driven mothers and amibitious fathers. Then it's playhouse by one and half years, later nursery school, and then this cycle goes on. The beauty of reading books and observing nature is lost forever.

If a child can get a relaxed environment at home, and can have healthy interactions with the family, esp the mother, there is a big chance, that the child will grow up to be a happy and a well balanced individual in the society.

komal said...

Very Correct!! But the problem does not end with the engineering and medical students alone. It is now prevalent in virtually across the society in virtually every possible field. People are taking education only to earn money, and not because they are interested in learning something, or expanding their knowledge or wisdom, their capability, their understanding or anything. Either it is because their parents have forced them to, or they are too frustrated and do not know how to do anything. Those who have got themselves some degrees by wasting time in some so called institution's canteen / coffee shop, think they know something that the peon of the company does not know. Rather it is the other way round. I believe that the word knowledge means Know-l-edge. Somebody ask these people where is the Edge, do they know it.The Human Mind, Body and Psyche is an integrated machinery, it requires various kinds of inputs to be able to bring forth what is within. Sports, Physical activities, Music, Reading & Writing in accord to ones liking, Hobbies, Rest, Good Food, Good Manners, Good Character, Good Friends, Good Family, Good Values among many others; all are required for development of the proper Person of Value; who can create some Value for himself, his family, his employer, his society, his country and the world. Not just in short term monetary terms, but much more long term sustainable way. The increasing cases of Road Rage, Health Problems, Financial problems, Divorces, Crime, Corruption, Suicide, Pollution, Food Poisoning, Environmental Degradation etc. are the result of the above affliction. In India Mental and Moral Health is now a days not even considered as a requirement among the youth and so called professionals etc. much less a necessity till the time the person does not end up in a hospital or so. Going to a so called temple, or a Baba, or Astrologer or such and bowing to a stone or a person, undertaking Idiotic rites and rituals is not a symbol of good moral and mental health. Doctors today say that one needs to walk atleast 9 to 10 Kilometers a day so that the brain does not shrink and Alzheimer, Delusion and other mental disorders do not set in. By these standards how many in Indian walk or do Physical activities to this order that they can that their brains have actually not started to shrink and they have already not walking down the road to mental illness? The Word Education means to bring forth what is within. Seeing what is coming out these days one wonders what is going in!!!

komal said...

Very Correct! The problem does not end with the engineering and medical students alone. It is now prevalent across the society in virtually every possible field and place. People are taking education only to earn money or boost their ego, and not because they are interested in learning something, or expanding their knowledge or wisdom, capability, understanding, character or anything. Either it is because their parents have forced them to, or they are too frustrated and do not know how to do anything worthwhile. Those who have got themselves some degrees by wasting time in some so called institution's canteen / coffee shop, think they know something that the peon of the company or the person down the road does not know. Rather it is the other way round. I believe that the word knowledge represents Know-l-edge. Somebody ask these people where is the Edge, do they know it.The Human Mind, Body and Psyche is an integrated machinery, it requires various kinds of inputs to be able to bring forth what is within. Sports, Physical activities, Music, Reading & Writing in accord to ones liking, Hobbies, Rest, Good (Food, Manners, Character, Friends, Family, Values) among many others; all are required for development of the proper Person of Value; who can create some Value for himself, his family, employer, society, country and the world. Not just in short term monetary terms, but much more long term sustainable ways. The increasing cases of Road Rage, Health Problems, Financial problems, Divorces, Crime, Corruption, Suicide, Pollution, Food Poisoning, Environmental Degradation etc. are the result of the above affliction. In India Mental and Moral Health is now a days not even considered as a requirement among the youth and so called professionals etc. much less a necessity till the time the person does not end up in a hospital or so. Going to a so called Temple etc., or a Baba, or Astrologer or such and bowing to a stone or a person, undertaking Idiotic rites and rituals is not a symbol of good moral and mental health. Doctors today say that one needs to walk at least 9 to 10 Kilometers a day so that the brain does not shrink and Alzheimer, Delusion and other mental disorders do not set in. By these standards how many in Indian walk or do Physical activities to this order that they can that their brains have actually not started to shrink and they have already not walking down the road to mental illness? The Word Education means to bring forth what is within. Seeing what is coming out these days one wonders what is going in, and in future too what more will come out???

suchi said...

I don't believe on Ragging or any education from IIT/IIM.All education seems equal to me.
One can be guided but no-one can create anyone's personality.

Sometimes ragging is necessary bcz what we sometimes do for others, we can't expect the same for us from them.

Supreetha said...

Its an influential behavour which carries from society to family to individual... a child is not brought up like an individual but as a bonded asset of parents.. and guided, monitered, influenced by their thought process... they are making ROBOS.. and not healthy individuals for the society...!

Supreetha said...
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RAHUL said...

You are true indeed.I am also a type of your friends in CR colony.I have been taking coaching for IIT since class 9 and now I find myself an empty person who can only think about perfection in education and put pressure on himself and his family when things do not go on properly.Sadly the same may happen to coming generations as private coaching institutions are offering coaching to students of even lower classes and even offer cash prizes and huge scholarships to lure students and parents.

Independent reviewer said...

Very well written sir, brings back memories of the introduction session i attented with you in Bangalore

Ajit said...

I cannot imagine, people who are so educated are involved in ragging.Institutes with great names are involved in ragging. In Mumbai the level of ragging is very low. Other than Mumbai ragging is followed as a religion and custom. I would always advice to bring a law where in if a person is found guilty of ragging, then along with him his both parents should be arrested and punished severe by law.

geevee said...

passionate about India? affirmative
This question needs to be posed to the politicians and bureaucrats.
so many scams,even the 5th pillar gets involved
One item very smoothly escaped is the agreement with Swiss "tax treaty"
the minister said in parliament
"the agreement applicable for all future cases"
So indirectly telling the nation forget about the $500 billion or so
the old story "get a cat to catch a rat and get a dog to drive the cat away"

vatty said...

the article has no basis...
i am an engineering student myself and what i have observed in three years of college is that seniors rag juniors because they think its fashionable... that's it..
and there is a lot of fear of punishment.. i have experienced that..

RULEBREAKER said...
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RULEBREAKER said...
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RULEBREAKER said...

Hi Arindam,

I quite agree with what you have to say on the subject of ragging.

But I think you missed a couple very major reasons.

1. Parents making fun of children who dont have a good physique leads to an inferiority complex, which is vented on those who are younger. it is usually the well built or the outspoken students who are picked on the most.

2. The amount of publicity ragging is receiving is also at fault. Children have always been known to do things that are either wrong or risky, because it is considered "Cool".

All in all, I think you have captured the most major points, but I think these 2 points have a lot of influence too.

I have been brought up well by my parents. My views on education differ from most of the others around me. My parents, sister and I have always viewed "Degrees" as parchments that prove you know the basics of the subject, but don't impart any actual working knowledge. I think correspondence or distance education is not given the credit it deserves. I would prefer if a candidate for a job has 3 years of work experience that I can judge him/her on, rather than an MBA.

Guna said...

I was ragged at college but I never ragged anyone.. When I was in 2nd year I treated seniors and Juniors in the same level.. Well its all about how you are brought up and what you think of yourself..

Don't blame parents as nowadays the children are a commodity for most of the middle class parents. Until the age of 5 the kids are great lively toys to play with. Then they educate them for financial benefits and their security.. Very rarely the kids have the opportunity to live with Grand parents or visit relatives in the vacation..

But for Ragging I believe it is a lame excuse. If the management is strict and dismiss a couple of students every year if caught on act, then the entire attitude will change.

My friend stabbed a senior while at ragging and then the tables turned.. So its part of the management and government to do it..

Suman said...

The entire writeup was too good and very real and I was finding interest to read every thing .. but at the end remembering every thing I read .. I felt like it was extremely well written SALES SCRIPT !! ... :) .. All the best Arruu Bhai !! ... :)

swati choudhury said...

it's an issue which seems to have no end....you are right about the reasons which cause ragging.

Suman said...

If we only focus on the topic "Ragging":

The 19 ragging deaths that is mentioned in your article, and if they have committed suicide (which I assume) than in my view they are born to do the same, its only co-incidence that ragging stood a reason for them, if not than they would have done it for some other reason in later part of their life. Life is not about only daylight, life is also about the dark nights. And along as life is there ... day and night will be there; mountain and valleys will be there, in some or the other form .... :)

I am not saying ragging is very very good thing .. I am only saying ragging is not that bad .. :) ..

Amit Mukhopadhyay said...

An excellent analysis of a very subtle social cause producing gruesome effects. Such subtle nuances mostly remain unnoticed and uncorrected. Hope this article wakes up the parents and teachers.

cherished_rock said...

I agree that parents and teachers greatly influence children.
In your post you refer to parents influencing their children to choose a career... If you think about it, after tenth grade a student in India has to pick his career path, science or arts... there are some who have a clear vision of where they want to be while others don't, it is in this respect that they need guidance...
And the guidance is usually given from the perspective and experiences of the parent/teacher.

Our undergraduate system is designed such that there is no scope for a delayed choice and therefore such undecided students face pressure in preparing for innumerable entrance exams. We do need exams, because every course requires a certain pre-requisite background. But the exam pattern needs to be revised to evaluate not just theory but practice of various principles learned.

I hope your post is not misinterpreted as.. "No homework". Homework is necessary as you learn more. When you work on problems yourself, that is when numerous questions arise. It is also important to have homework submissions as they inculcate from a very young age the practice of meeting deadlines. What needs to be changed is how this homework is designed and assigned to students.

Our school system has no room for experimentation with teaching even when there are so many resources at hand. Exams are necessary and students need to be evaluated on what they have learned in school, but the process can involve critical thinking in relation to current issues along with lectures.

You are right that all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Sports and outdoor activities help nurture ones character. What we need is a right balance of both.

One of the reasons that hasn't been touched upon and has a huge impact is misuse of peer pressure. There are many who do not THINK for themselves and on account of peer pressure resort to bad behavior. The thought that, "I have been through hell, and so should you", is what drives such people.

Tanmoy said...

Nicely explained.I'm from a good institute of West Bengal(1997-2001 batch).I was ragged by my seniors, but never did to my junior,rather during ragging I used to give relief to junior by saving them from my friend circles and did some personal/professional interaction.At the same time to some extent mental ragging (like aptitude test) can be allowed, but seniors should not cross the limit, that is the way of making the sustainable relation
But at present its presence even in school level.Though Govt. have some rules, but where is the implementation. I think best think is make student-faculty group to wash out ragging o heavy punishment like sentence- the college authority should behave like anything to remove this disease

vinny said...

Well Said! Skewed people can't have normal thinking , even education becomes playground to show off their ego. Even Andre Agassi admits in his autobiography "open" how his father forced tennis on him n how he felt desperate & Aamir Khan's movie "3idiots" mocks this herd mentality.

vinny said...

hell lotta difference between influencing children and forcing children,parental pressure is more henious than peer pressure.

khushi said...
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Shreya said...

haha..well said Arindamji, but here's so much competition now, dat if a father or family does not pushes his child for study and to b a topper, only he/she will lag behind,others will score and go ahead leaving the poor kid far back..and u know, if a student does not score 80% or 75% atleast in class 12th board exams, leave alone IIMs, IITs/even IT companies of the country will reject them cz of poor marks.

So, a student not studying or unable to understand the gravity of Indian education system himseld should b made aware/asked by parents to study..is I feel. But one thing is dat, apart from bookish education moral education should also be given by parents and school since nursery classes so that they grow up as a human being and not an animal. When you can't change the whole eductaion system of India, pls dun ask parents to stop telling 'Study beta' to their children. Otherwise they won't b able to make into any IITs/IIMs or any good college. Yes, but you can ask them to impart moral education along with "Study hard beta!!"

Sefali Agraval said...

So extra ordinary explanation for the child rogger.. we should all aware by this. Thanks for sharing..

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