So there’s this big debate at the UWI Mona about ‘Ragging’, what it should entail and whether it’s even relevant to the orientation process for freshers. From observation, it would seem that the halls are leaning more towards preserving their hall culture by continuing to ‘rag’, but I just have a feeling that if we left things up to the administration, ‘Ragging’ would be packing its bags to leave UWI for good. Before I even delve into the matter, let’s find a functional definition for ‘ragging’ that will help us in simplifying the interpretation of this discussion.
Our friends over by http://www.collinsdictionary.com defined it simply to be a boisterous practical joke, especially on a fellow student. The Honorable Supreme Court of India defines it in length as:
Any disorderly conduct whether by words spoken or written or by an act which has an effect of teasing, treating or handling with rudeness any junior student, indulging in rowdy or indisciplined activities which causes or is likely to cause annoyance, hardship or psychological harm or to raise fear or apprehension thereof in a fresher or junior student or asking the student(s) to do any act or perform something which the student will not do in an ordinary course and which has the effect of causing or generating a sense of shame or embarrassment so as to adversely affect the psyche and do a physical harm to a fresher or junior student.
I don’t know about you but I’d say the Indians got it right with their definition. What I found particularly interesting through some light research is that this act of ragging is actually punishable in some countries because of the extremes to which it can get. I have heard stories of people who died as a result of the process. I don’t know if I’m misinformed or just genuinely out of the loop, but I’ve never heard of anyone dying at UWI Mona as a result of ‘Ragging’. I’d love to believe that the Halls’ intended purpose is not to to kill anyone literally, but rather kill them figuratively.
From my understanding and the dialogue I’ve had with past and present UWI seniors from respective halls, Ragging seems to be an initiation process into the culture of hall that you get attached to; like a rebirth in a sense. It’s where you take on a new identity as a part of this new experience called college and it’s a process that I think most juniors coming in look forward to. Most of them lived sheltered lives at home, and come here wanting to break-free from who they were, and start over brand new.
It’s all they’ve heard about in high school, and it’s what they’ve been dreaming to take part in when their time comes to matriculate to College. Why should the University rob them of that privilege?? Why should the University satisfy its political appetite at a cost of robbing the students’ of a full university experience?? Why isn’t the administration looking to arrive at a common ground with the halls in what should be defined as ‘ragging’ in this cultural context and how it should be carried out, instead of outwardly objecting to such a strong piece of UWI culture??