Soft on Ragging and Bullying?

It seems quite easy these days for the morning papers to disturb us, usually over the state of civic infrastructure or the trials and tribulations associated with the commonwealth Games preparations. This morning, it’s a different, small story in the paper that has really troubled me:

“Delhi High Court has said that students accused of ragging should not be expelled for life from colleges as it will ruin their career and might turn them into anti-social elements. The court made the observation while directing DU and Kirori Mal College to re-admit two students.”

Let us not beat about the bush here. Ragging is bullying. Ragging is subjugating others, humiliating them and exerting power over them for sadistic pleasure and a form of interpersonal power politics. Furthermore, in pretty much every country of the world, any person over the age of 17 is held legally culpable as an adult for their actions. This is because they are deemed, in law, to have the brain and mind of an adult, capable of the ‘mens rea’ to commit a crime.

If a responsible person commits a crime, they must be punished and the message sent to all of society that their acts are not tolerated. Such woolly, weak acts by the judiciary can render academic institutes almost impossible to run – jungles where the bullies and power hungry can exert their will over others with impunity. I’ve seen the same kind of woolly judicial statements on exam cheating – which is why i believe it’s so prevalent here compared with where I grew up in UK. There, when growing up, I and all my peers knew that if caught cheating the punishments would be severe and uncompromising. Everybody knew that the implications were so unpalatable that they just didn’t do it.

Becoming an adult means one is responsible 100% for one’s own life and the choices made in it. If a young person is old enough to take decisions about engaging in risk behaviours such as smoking, drinking etc, or to get behind the wheel of a car, then one must also be old enough to be held completely accountable for one’s actions, especially when those actions are harmful to others or damage the society as a whole.

This idea of ‘ruining their career’ is frankly pathetic to me. If i do wrong and I am punished for it, i still have all the choices in the world about how I respond, how i make amends to society or even to my family. A young person can just as easily take this life lesson and use it to motivate and power themselves towards success and achievement as to use it as an excuse to become even more degenerate and anti-social.

To suggest that young people don’t have these choices and must be forgiven all sends a message to them that the choices they make don’t matter as they will be forgiven all bad decisions. We don’t need less accountability, we need more!

Did Aman Kachroo die for nothing? Did the suffering of all the other victims of ragging and bullying in the country count for nothing?

See the list of students in this Wikipedia article – young victims who never had the right to have a career because bullies are allowed to go unpunished. Judges should be supporting educational institutes to clean out the bad elements so that those who want to study, those who want a quality education can pursue their dreams without fear.

Wikipedia link


3 Responses

  1. I second your opinion.

    Unless there is fear of punishment, there would always be a tendency to do it. This new judgment would send wrong message and precedent, I am afraid.

    Ashish Gilotra

  2. I agree with you mark as this is the apathy of our country where we live in . It is really heartening to know about cases like Kachroo and others but today we all should be courageous enough to raise a voice against all the evils happening in the country and embark on a journey towards cleaning the system . I think enough is enough


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