Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Life-lessons through ‘Intro’ (ragging)

The bricks are exposed as the soil there is of red colour. The very moment one enters through it, the series of bricks of all the buildings architecture on the rocky terrains revels in simplicity. It’s aesthetically sound with the greenery environment. And its name is another roadside attraction for they are all India’s rivers. Beyond classroom lectures, it’s the hub of academics and cultural exchanges, where warm hospitality and uniqueness soaked in the diverse campus of JNU hostel. Overseas students from Asia, Europe and Africa find their own space to communicate ideas.
Boarders often venture out in the name of ‘Intro’. So they also did in the weekend. The message was conveyed through that creepy irritating knocks on his door. The Nigerian responded timely with due permission for just a minute. But he took a lot time and they were astonished by what they saw. The tall 7-footers dressed out with his traditional attires. He was unable to establish their motive for ragging but thought of organizing inter-cultural activities for freshers. Such was the height of ‘Intros’ in their days in the national capital.
But what we see today in the name of intros, senior make fun of disorderly conduct by an act of teasing on freshers. Ridiculous rules that will make new boarders pull out their hair in frustration. It has laid down bizarre hostel rules like wearing ‘Patiala-Churidar-dupatta’ for girls and army hair-do for boys are some really unreasonable instructions and they are so unacceptable. There is parade on roads while shouting abusive and slang sentences to serve them with refreshment during night hours. Such bad shapes of embarrassments adversely affect the psyche of occupants. It has engaged a deliberate attempt to provoke conflict and it keeps on happening year after year, the same old ways.
Despite anti-ragging measures, the majority of the cases go unreported. The fear of being more tortured and more victimized causes silence from the victim’s side. New entrants are shockingly made to fall in line with seniors’ whim and constantly bullied inside hostel.
Seniors advocate for it as social interaction as they are healthy sign conducted in limits. There are rules like standing long hours during ragging to keep them strong in their medico profession. Intro at hostel life may feel like torture under watchful seniors but these experiences make them independent, disciplined and confident. They will soon learn how to avert crises and come up with solutions.
However there is other side of hostel. It is fun and one must give it a try. Recently, my daughter has joined the college for study facing stringent guidelines of the hostel stay. Hostel life is often synonymous with freedom after leaving the cocooned life without a watchful eye of parents. They are to behave and act according to the prerequisite rules as well as social norms. Commonly quoted as ‘harmless fun’ by seniors, new entrants often have to deal with these ‘do as your senior say’ game. Introduction session in fact helps unearth talents of a student. Funnily enough, freshers looked a little weird in the way they dress. We used to cherish our once-a-week visit to our daughter’s hostel.
But, like every coin has a flip side, the hostel life possesses one too. A hostel can have a very chaotic atmosphere as adjusting to its atmosphere is often daunting. She would quickly learn how to deal with people, stand her ground and speak up. Everything from going to bed to meals is timed. But the sad cooking story made her days out of taste and aroma in the mess. Needless to say, it is undercooked and undernourished but I wonder if she picks up some basic cooking skills like making Maggi and boiling eggs.
She is pampered by our cozy home so far but using washroom at 6 o’clock morning without geyser in winter made her days tough. There is always a hustle-bustle happening around in hostels. They share gossip and fun with roommates, at a time, she finds herself lonely, simply because, the studies and deadlines of log book, there is a lot to accomplish. Those are valuable life lessons through ‘intro’ or so called ragging these days.
Kamal Baruah

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