Hazing News

Fascinating piece regarding “ragging” deaths in India

Excerpt from newspaper editorial follows: Has the SC gone overboard in calling ragging a crime and asking for ‘exemplary and justifiably harsh’ action against those found guilty of indulging in it? The answer is an emphatic no.

Ask the parents of Amit Gangwar, a first year student at BR Ambedkar National Institute of Technology, Jalandhar, who unable to bear the torment any more, threw himself in front of a train in 2005 or of Parmeshwar, a student at Birla Institute of Technology, Ranchi, who ended his life for the same reason in 2003.Ask Sujit Saraf, who studied at the prestigious IIT Delhi from 1987 to 1992 and has had the courage to write about his experiences during the first few days there in Tehelka. No punishment can ever be severe enough as far as they are concerned.It’s not only those who have lost their children so wantonly who will applaud the apex court. So will thousands of parents who send their children to colleges, including some of the most sought-after professional colleges in the country, and are then compelled to wait out an agonizing two months, fearing the worst.To them the SC’s interim directions directing educational institutions to register criminal cases against those indulging in ragging activities are a long overdue and much needed step to end the menace of ragging on our campuses.

Inevitably the apex court’s directions have set off a fierce debate. Those who regard raging as harmless fun, as high jinks, a rite of passage to membership of a group argue that the ruling is excessively harsh. Apart from mandatory filing of an FIR, the court has shifted the onus of proof to the accused rather than the victim. It has also warned of more stringent measures in September when it gives its final directions, presumably based on the experience of working with these interim directions.

Diehard supporters of ragging are not the only ones unhappy with the SC’s directions. Heads of some educational institutions have criticized it on the grounds that not all instances of ragging are violent or abusive and hence lodging an FIR might be going too far. Agreed, not all cases of ragging are perverted or dangerous but it is not so difficult to distinguish between those that are plain fun and those that are not.

By Hank Nuwer

Journalist Hank Nuwer is the Alaska author of Hazing: Destroying Young Lives; Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing, High School Hazing, Wrongs of Passage and The Hazing Reader. He has written articles or columns on hazing for the Sunday Times of India, Toronto Globe & Mail, Harper's Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, The Chronicle of Higher Education and the New York Times Sunday Magazine. His current book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press. He is married to Malgorzata Wroblewska Nuwer of Warsaw, Poland and Fairbanks, Alaska. Nuwer is a former columnist for the Greenville (Ohio)Early Bird and former managing editor of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner in Alaska.
Nuwer was named the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists columnist of the year in 2021 for his “After Darke” column in the Early Bird. He also won third place for the column in 2022 from the Indiana chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He and his wife Gosia, recently of Union City, Ind., have owned 20 acres in Alaska for many years. “The move is a sort-of coming home for us,” said Nuwer. As a journalist, he’s written about the Alaskan Iditarod sled-dog race and other Alaska topics. Read his musings in his blog at Real Alaska Daily-- and in his weekly column "Far from Randolph" in the Winchester Star-Gazette of Randolph County, Indiana.

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