RAGGING-Then & Now (Vinod Anand) In the present times Ragging has indeed assumed explosive dimensions and if juniors complain against their seniors, it is hardly surprising. But this tradition has come down since the days when ragging was regarded as a part of the training that young students Were supposed to have so as to make them more bold aid open in order to cope with the real-life problems that they all had to encounter after passing out. Even in those days sometimes excesses were committed, but, as seniors of that era tell me, they never intended to hurt anyone. In fact Dr B.B.L. Saxena, late VC of Meerut and Agra Universities, once told me (a few months before his death), that the junior-senior relationship continued in some respects even in later life. He would say: If a senior met juniors in coffee house, then he would pay their bill and would not allow them to open their purse strings. Dr Saxena recalled that even after he had come in service, he once met an elderly gentleman in a restaurant who had been his senior in hostel. He did not allow me to pay. That is how the seniors preserved-and followed those traditions. - Prof R.N. Deb once told us about an incident in a London University. He said a student had died as a result of ragging. The boys funeral was widely attended. And the Vice Chancellor (or any one presiding over the condolence meeting) paid heartrending tributes to the departed soul and after a brief speech concluded it by saying, but the show must go on. Ragging is a tradition that will continue. I m saying this in the context of the hunger strike by nine expelled inmates of the A.N.Jha Hostel who were thus punished for indulging in ragging. The Vice Chancellor has said that the suspension can be revoked. And the registrar has remarked that if the VC says so then there must be some validity behind it, I hope that by time this is in print, the suspension would have bee revoked. Ragging excesses are reported from time to time from different prestigious institutes of the country. That is presumably because the media these days is very alive and reaches every nook and corner of the country within minutes. This never happened in the past. Hence, if excesses were committed in the past as well, they were never reported. There is no doubt that the spirit of tolerance is., no longer there. The era of Spare the rod and Spoil the child has gone because today even if a teacher justifiably uses the rod if he who is not spared by the parents who report against him or her to the police and even file an FIR. Some teachers hay fled of have been sacked. In olden days school boys were severely beaten up by teachers for the lapses, but none dared to go home and report against them to their parents because they were afraid that were they-to do so, they would get good caning from the father. In earlier days, ragging was highly positive in the sense that the senior inmates of the hostels, especially in Amar Nath Jha Hostel (Muir Hostel) at Allahabad University used to teach good things to their juniors, and also used to punish them for their mistakes. And later such junior and seniors used to become good friends, and their friendship was highly durable. I was also an inmate of the Muir Hostel, and I still have many of my senior friends, who had ragged me in a highly positive way. Our friendship goes on, and it is highly non-toxic. Let us hope that that era comes back once again.