“La Politique”, the Political Science department of Kirori Mal College, in association with the Centre for Advanced Research on Development and Change, organized a seminar on 16th October, titled “Ragging, Rape and Reform.”
The event began with power-point presentations made by second year students, dealing with the alarming issue of ragging. Aimed at highlighting the ongoing menace, despite the sensitization of society and implementation of stringent laws, a student – made video was shared, pin-pointing the psychological trauma inflicted upon a fresher due to ragging. Shocking statistics showed that India and Sri Lanka remain the only two nations where the issue remains prevalent even today. The students also covered a rather little known aspect of ragging, the harassment of teachers by students. Though a small-scale phenomenon, it highlights the deteriorating teacher-student relationship, especially at the college level.
The second issue covered by the students was another burning topic- juvenile delinquency, i.e. offences committed by minors. Firstly, the students tried to understand the issue not in vacuum, but as a product of several factors such as poverty, domestic violence, illiteracy, child labor and peer pressure. The question of trial of juveniles as adults, in heinous crimes such as rapes, was hotly debated. This was followed by an analysis of the implementation of the recently amended Juvenile Justice Act and the state of rehabilitation centres in India. A strong appeal was made for the creation of a children’s court, to handle such matters with sensitivity and not push juveniles further into the world of crimes.
Next, it was the turn of the guest speaker for the day, Prof Rajinder Kachroo, founder and trustee of the Aman Satya Kachroo Foundation, to present his views on the matter. He labeled the ongoing issue of ragging as a manifestation of the “seniority syndrome” and “unconditional obedience” prevalent in India. Sharing experiences from his lectures in various institutions in and around Delhi, he focused on the need to sensitize not only the victims and perpetrators, but also the bystanders. He even put up an open question- whether any form of punishment really proved to be a deterrent for the committers of crimes? This was followed by an impassionate appeal for dissing the “chalta hai” attitude and making a stride towards change by Ms. Naeem Akhtar. With the end of the two-hour long seminar, students walked out of the hall, with refreshments in their hand and a buzz of ideas in their head.