Saturday, August 11, 2001
M A I L  B O X

The dangers of ragging

THIS is with reference to the article "A dangerous twist to a harmless practice" by Khushwant Singh (July 28) in which he depicts the way the comparatively harmless practice of ragging in the educational institutions in our country had undergone almost unrecognisable transformation.

From a harmless practice, ragging has become a demonic indulgence in sadistic tendencies wherein many seniors consider the freshers and their juniors defenceless victims of their cruel idiosyncracies. As it is always with sadists, the more defenceless the victim seems to be, the more cruel their behaviour becomes.

From a friendly exercise to teach the juniors a lesson in obedience as well as to introduce them to their new institute in a jovial manner, it becomes the unleashing of terror involving such coercion that many cornered students are compelled to take their own lives. Parents of the majority of students, even from the premier institutes, lose sleep for many months and feel wretched when their wards write or repeatedly phone in tears that they are at the breaking point due to terrible ragging.



Under no circumstances can ragging be called a "harmless practice". It is a manifestation of a villainy, rather perversion, of the worst kind.

Even a hint of this bestial aberration calls for stringent action not only against the culprit but also against the faculty members of the institution.

It is high time that special courts were set up to summarily try and punish errant students and teachers guilty of dereliction.


Matters of age

Ram Sircarís write-up "Too soon old, too late smart" (July 28) prompts me to remark that old and young, like oil and water do not mix well. As Shakespeare says: "Crabbed age and youth cannot live together". Old people need special food, regular rest and sleep, much quiet and silence. Old prevent young men and women from developing their own personalities.

Children should inherit only a few time-tested ideas from their parents. Many great men have disobeyed their parents. Some examples that come to mind are of Gautam Buddha, St Francis, Petarch, and Karl Marx, who paid no heed to the entreaties of their fathers.

Youth is creative, adventurous and must look ahead and plan for the future.


Nag Devtas

This refers to "Himachal, the land of nag devtas, too" (July 21).

Himachalís Chamba region has numerous nag shrines. Nags are worshipped in the form of sculptures of human being, holding a trishul in one hand and a chain in the other, crafted on rocks. These sculptures are surrounded by nags, including the hooded cobra.

Bhagsu Nag (Dharamsala) is a corrupted form of Vasuki Nag, to whom all the other nags pay obeisance. As this nag ran away with holy water belonging to Lord Shiva, it was called Bhagsu, i.e. runaway, Nag. Upper Sutlej area is believed to be the domain of a nag queen and her seven sons. A rivulet guarded by a local priest is dedicated to her.

In Tikral, at the source of the Pabbar river, the Panch (five) Nag is the deity of a militant tribe, having temples dedicated to each one of them.

Sheshnag figures prominently in the Manikaran legend, where he stole Parvatiís earrings studded with Chintamani. In Shimla Hills, Bacheru Nag is said to control the weather.