The meeting was conceived by the Program Chair Rtn PP Man Mohan Singh and Rtn. A.P. Singh, while yours truly moderated the discussions.
Rotaractors of our Club set the ball rolling with two students providing their perspective on ragging, which they deemed it as a necessary ice-breaker.
Another surprise finds were Rtn DGN Madhukar Malhotra and visiting Rtn. PP Ajit Gulati, who turned out to be alumni of same engineering college. Rtn Gulati recalled being ragged in the room of Rtn Malhotra, while the later said that it used to be a clean fun which led to life-time of friendships with their seniors and juniors.
Rtn. Subhash Marriya, referring to the recent death of a student in Himachal Pradesh, said that the onus squarely lies on the college administration to ensure that ragging does not happen. He informed that in his college he introduced the system of friendly interaction and a welcome party was organised to greet the freshers.
Rtn. Dr. Mangla Dogra however felt that the ragging in professional institutions is predominant and majority of the time no one talks about it. "My son was ragged in her medical college in Himachal Pradesh, and it appears, that it is more of a psychological issue and the people coming from the rural backgrounds want to take it out on the city lads because of complex." She said that the victims of ragging invariably become the perpetrators next year to take revenge for their humiliation.
Rtn. Deepak Sibal informed that ragging leading to death has been termed as homicide and strict laws are being implemented with Supreme Court's clear verdict to hold the institutions responsible for the act. He informed that though the Supreme Court had issued mandate against ragging as far back as 2001 but implementation had been lax and now many of the states are putting the law in place.
Mr. Justice Hemant Gupta wrapping up the discussions remarked that it is not a legal issue but a veritable social problem which need to be dealt with at various levels with the involvement of the parents, teachers, educational institutions, and the society together. "It is shameful that despite living in a so-called civilised society we continue to have such heinous practices", he remarked.
Mr Justice Gupta lamented that till now everyone wanted to put these incidents under the carpet since no one wanted to be seen in the bad light.
Police as a deterrent should be resorted to at a last resort, he emphasised, and the police force should be brought in only if all other fails.
The need, he said, was the inculcate human values amongst the children right from the childhood, so that societal mindset can be changed against this malice.
The panel discussion generated great interest with a very active participation from the audience, which was rounded up beautifully by a short nazm that our own poet, Rtn. S.D. Sharda penned it on the spot and recited it.
What next? The question was posed to the Rotaractors who said that they would sensitise the youngsters in their educational institutions against this practice.
Rtn. Man Mohan Singh and Rtn. Neena Singh suggested constitution of an independent monitoring body having respected citizens on board to check this practice in the educational instutitons, besides putting up counselling facilities.