When will 'ragging' be wiped out?
When we question as to when the evil of ragging will
be wiped out from this country's higher educational
institutions, we are, no doubt, voicing the view of the
law-abiding, silent majority of this country, with the same tone
of weariness. While the authorities are, no doubt, doing their
best to eliminate the obnoxious malaise, it only seems to be
persisting in our universities in particular with considerable
At the time of writing, some severe cases of ragging have
emerged in a few of our front-line universities. In the case of
an undergraduate of Ruhuna University, the ragging had been so
brutal that the victim required hospitalization. In fact she is
said to be in a serious condition. Things took an unspeakably
shocking turn at Peradeniya University, where a lecturer who
attempted to prevent a ragging incident was beaten-up by
undergraduates. The University of Peradeniya is not alone in
witnessing revolting behaviour of this kind on the part of
students towards teachers. There seems to be a developing trend
in some of our universities, for students to ruthlessly set upon
their teachers when prevented by the latter from ragging
newcomers to their midst.
Accordingly, the behaviour of some of our undergraduates is
deteriorating by the day. Increasingly bizarre and barbaric
conduct is taking root among them and no solutions seem to be
forthcoming to this manic sadism in the personality of these
undergraduates, euphemistically termed, 'ragging'.
To be fair by the higher education authorities and others
concerned, we need to admit that this recurrent scourge in our
seats of higher learning is a highly complex phenomenon. There
is no ducking the fact that ragging is a most abominable evil
and should be wiped out sooner rather than later, but there is
no underestimating the practical and other challenges that could
confront the university and state authorities in the task of
taking on the menace.
It would be patently unfair to indict all undergraduates as 'raggers'
or potential 'raggers'. It is only a handful of students who
resort to these bestial acts but they seem to be a highly
intimidatory presence on campus. They seem to be 'programmed'
into behaving the way they do, by some sinister and invisible
hand. Going by the experiences of new recruits to campus, these
'rag masters' conduct themselves in the manner of trained cadres
in unleashing monstrous behaviour. There is no doubt that they
are highly adept at exercising the coldest cruelty on their
in-coming colleagues. They are by no means innocents from the
fabled rural hinterland of this country. They are supreme
masters at exercising brutality on fellow humans and any victim
of ragging will bear this out.
Accordingly, the inference is inescapable that these diseased
minds on campus belong to those political forces which are
intent on triggering social and political unrest in this country
and their unmistakable hallmark is their hair-raising bestiality
and brutality. The country witnessed savagery of this kind in
1989-1990, for instance.
Such forces need to be dealt with through the use of
stringent law and order measures because it just would not pay
to show them any quarter. Their supreme fixation is destruction
and it is very unlikely that they would understand the language
of considerateness and flexibility.
However, these dangerous deviants are few in number and
isolating them and neutralizing them into behaving in a more
civilized fashion is within the realms of the possible. It
demands tremendous courage, but the 'moral majority' in our
universities, or those advocating civilized norms, would need to
form themselves into a formidable collectivity and staunchly
oppose the abomination which is ragging. The brutality of the
demented minds should not go unchallenged. However, it is up to
the authorities to provide ample security for this 'moral
majority' which takes on the brutish minority.