AskDefine | Define ragging

Dictionary Definition



1 a small piece of cloth or paper [syn: shred, tag, tag end, tatter]
2 a week at British universities during which side-shows and processions of floats are organized to raise money for charities [syn: rag week]
3 music with a syncopated melody (usually for the piano) [syn: ragtime]
4 newspaper with half-size pages [syn: tabloid, sheet]
5 a boisterous practical joke (especially by college students)


1 treat cruelly; "The children tormented the stuttering teacher" [syn: torment, bedevil, crucify, dun, frustrate]
2 cause annoyance in; disturb, especially by minor irritations; "Mosquitoes buzzing in my ear really bothers me"; "It irritates me that she never closes the door after she leaves" [syn: annoy, get to, bother, get at, irritate, rile, nark, nettle, gravel, vex, chafe, devil]
3 play in ragtime; "rag that old tune"
4 harass with persistent criticism or carping; "The children teased the new teacher"; "Don't ride me so hard over my failure"; "His fellow workers razzed him when he wore a jacket and tie" [syn: tease, razz, cod, tantalize, tantalise, bait, taunt, twit, rally, ride]
5 censure severely or angrily; "The mother scolded the child for entering a stranger's car"; "The deputy ragged the Prime Minister"; "The customer dressed down the waiter for bringing cold soup" [syn: call on the carpet, rebuke, trounce, reproof, lecture, reprimand, jaw, dress down, call down, scold, chide, berate, bawl out, remonstrate, chew out, chew up, have words, lambaste, lambast]
6 break into lumps before sorting; "rag ore" [also: ragging, ragged]ragging See rag

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. present participle of rag

Extensive Definition

"Ragging" is a form of abuse on newcomers to educational institutions in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and in many other countries. It is almost similar to the Western form, known as "Hazing", but is commonly much more severe.
Some senior students, force the unorganized newcomers to undergo several forms of mental, physical and sexual abuses. The juniors are usually too frightened to resist their organized group of tormentors.
Legally ragging is often defined as -
“ '''‘Ragging’ means the doing of any act which causes, or is likely to cause any physical, psychological or physiological harm or apprehension or shame or embarrassment to a student, and includes–
(a) teasing or abusing of playing practical joke on, or causing hurt to any student. or (b) asking any student to do any act, or perform any thing, which he/she would not, in the ordinary course, be willing to do or perform.”
In present day India, ragging involves gross violations of human rights. The seniors commonly torture the innocent juniors and by this those seniors get some kind of sadistic pleasures. Truly speaking the nature of ragging in most of the hostels in India, may be as severe as what we know about the infamous Abu Ghraib prison of Iraq.
The torture on innocent students often run for months, and involve same batch of students being physically and sexually abused by same and/or different group of seniors (including those from the opposite sex) over and over again. Most of the institutions usually turn a blind eye and rather tries to hush up in fear of loss of reputation.
Though ragging has ruined the lives of many, resistance against it has grown up only recently. Several Indian states have made legislatures banning ragging, and the Indian Supreme Court has taken a strong stand to curb ragging. Ragging has been declared a "criminal offence".
The Indian civil society has also started to mount resistance, only recently.
Ragging is different from other crimes because the motive is solely to get perverse pleasure. Ragging is also different from other crimes as it is actively promoted by certain sections of the society. The following criminal activities can be categorised under ragging (especially if they take place inside a school or college):
  • unlawful coercion
  • criminal intimidation
  • assault
  • battery
  • sexual abuse
  • rape
  • murder
Ragging is different from "hazing" in that it is forced on the victim, whereas "hazing" is done with the consent of a person.
The phenomenon was particularly prevalent in army and police forces, in which new recruits are required to undergo a degree of physical abuse. This practice is to a large degree actively promoted by many military groups.
But in India, ragging is more infamous for its ubiquitous presence in the educational institutions. According to the observations by the Dr. Raghavan Committee, which has been construed by the Union Human Resource Development ministry on the orders of the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India, the medical colleges are the worst affected in India.
However, India's first and only registered Anti Ragging NGO, Society Against Violence in Education (SAVE) has supported that ragging is also widely and dangerously prevalent in Engineering and other institutions, mainly in the hostels.

Legal and sociological aspects

Ragging has a long history, and has been highlighted in literature (e.g., in Britain, Tom Brown's Schooldays, or Boy by Roald Dahl, and in India, Chetan Bhagat's Five Point Someone). In recent years, it has been the focus of a number of legal actions. For example, the Supreme Court of India defined it in a 2001 judgement as:
Any disorderly conduct whether by words spoken or written or by an act which the effect of teasing, treating or handling with rudeness any other 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 a junior student or asking the students to do any act or perform something which such student will not do in the ordinary course and which has the effect of causing or generating a sense of shame or embarrassment so as to adversely affect the physique or psyche of a fresher or a junior student.
Ragging can be thought of in terms verbal, physical and sexual aggression. A single act may be a combination of more than one of these.
A report from 2007 by the Indian anti-ragging group Coalition to Uproot Ragging from Education analyzed 64 ragging complaints, and found that over 60% of these were related to physical ragging, and 20% were sexual in nature.
While SAVE has noted 7 reported ragging deaths in the year 2007 alone and 31 reported deaths in the period 2000-2007. :
Ragging is conducted during a fixed period in most institutions, which may range from one day to the whole year. Once this period is over, 'seniors' suddenly become "friends": the beginning of this new relationship is often a "fresher's party", where in some traditions, the freshers may rag their seniors. Seniors then go out of their way to help the freshers they "ragged," almost becoming their guardians. This generalisation may not always be true. In any event, innumerable freshers under severe stress may then leave the system , or may be suffering from serious psychological trauma, which may continue to take its toll through post-traumatic stress disorders. Occasionally, there may be physical injury, and some may even commit suicide.
It has been observed that often, after the ragging season, the friendship between juniors & seniors is only apparent, possibly due to the fact the junior still remains dependent on the seniors in many respects.

Ragging in India

With the increasing privatization of higher education in India, academic institutions in India have been experiencing increasing ragging related excesses. A report from 2007 highlights 42 instances of physical injury, and reports on ten deaths purportedly the result of ragging:
Ragging has reportedly caused at least 30-31 deaths in the last 7 years: , [all of which] are not those of freshers. C. Lalitha, the mother of Mukesh, ended her life due to the controversy surrounding the sexual abuse of her son during ragging (Andhra Pradesh, Sept 2006). Three of the ragging deaths were those of seniors: two seniors were killed by a first-year student when he was being ragged (Vidyanagar, MP, Aug 2006); one senior ended his life when he was punished for ragging. The other seven deaths were those of freshman, six who committed suicide, and one due to the result of brutal ragging (equivalent to murder).
In the 2007 session, 7 ragging deaths have been reported.
In addition, a number of freshmen were severely traumatized to the extent that they were admitted to mental institutions. Ragging in India commonly is involves serious abuses and clear violations of human rights. Often media reports and others unearth that it goes on, in many institutions, in the infamous Abu Ghraib style and on innocent victims.
In many colleges, like IIT, Bombay and IIIT Hyderabad, ragging has been strictly banned. But how far the ban is effective appears clear on the campuses, hostels and in the media.


In 1997, the state of Tamil Nadu first passed laws related to ragging Subsequently, a major boost to anti-ragging efforts was given by a landmark judgement of the Supreme Court of India in May 2001, submitted to the court in May 2007, includes a proposal to include ragging as a special section under the Indian Penal Code. The Supreme Court of India interim order (based on the recommendations) dated May 16, 2007 makes it obligatory for academic institutions to file official First Information Reports with the police in any instance of a complaint of ragging. This would ensure that all cases would be formally investigated under criminal justice system, and not by the academic institutions own ad-hoc bodies.
The Indian Supreme Court has taken a strong stand to prevent ragging. In 2006, the court directed the H.R.D. Ministry of the Govt. of India to form a panel which will suggest guidelines to control ragging.
The panel, headed by the former director of C.B.I. Dr. R.K.Raghavan, met victims, guardians and others across the country. The Raghavan committee has placed its recommendation to the Honbl. Supreme Court, which has given its order on the issue.

Anti-ragging movement

With the situation of ragging worsening yearly, there is emerging a spontaneous anti-ragging movement in India. Several voluntary organizations have emerged, who conduct drives for public awareness and arrange for support to victims.
Online groups like Coalition to Uproot Ragging from India (CURE), Stopragging, No Ragging Foundation became the major Anti Ragging groups on the Internet. Among them, the No Ragging Foundation has transformed into a complete NGO and got registered as Society Against Violence in Education (SAVE) which is India's first registered Anti Ragging non profit organization (NGO). These groups are working on issues related to ragging. Each of them is running anti ragging websites and online groups.
The Indian media has been playing a crucial role by exposing ragging incidents and the indifference of many concerned institutions towards curbing the act. The Honbl. Supreme Court of India has directed, in its interim judgment, that that action may be taken even against negligent institutions..
  • Amit Sahai was a student of NIT Jalandhar, Punjab and he committed suicide on October 11, 2005 by jumping in front of a speeding train. He blamed nine senior students of NIT Jalandhar in his suicide note for having had mercilessly ragged him:.
  • Durgesh Shukla hanged himself from a ceiling fan on September 18, 2007. He blamed seniors in his suicide note .
  • Manjot Singh, an MBBS student, committed suicide by consuming a poisonous substance on August 8, 2007 .
  • 18 year-old Chetan Raj committed suicide on September 20, 2007. His body was found hanging from the roof of his lodge room. He had already complained to his parents that he was being ragged in his college .
  • A first year engineering student, C Abraham, hanged himself to death on December 14, 2005 at his residence in Hyderabad. In his suicide note, he mentioned that he was not interested in studies. His parents suspect that his suicide to be a result of ragging .
  • A 19-year-old first year engineering student, Anup Kapoor, committed suicide on September 19, 2002 by hanging himself from a ceiling fan at his residence in Kanpur. In his suicide note, Anup said that he was going through mental agony due to the sexual harassment by second-year students of the institute (Institute of Engineering and Technology, Lucknow) in the name of ragging .
  • Azad Nair was a 22 year old cadet at the Officer's Training Academy(OTA) in Chennai.He had hanged himself from the fan of his room on 5th November, 2006. Prior to his suicide he had told his brother Soumendu over telephone that he was being ragged and humiliated at the OTA and he had pleaded to his father Padmanabhan Nair to rescue him from the OTA.



External links

ragging in Tamil: பகிடிவதை
ragging in Portuguese: Ragging
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