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reason to write this real life incident that happened in my medical life
career is that other day I was surfing through barkur.com and I came
across a article written by Santegudde cricketers about ragging that is
prevalent in educational institutions more so in professional colleges.
It may not be eye opener to all but it reinforces the importance that it
will bear in our society and may help to our youngsters who aspire to
study higher education. All credit to Santegudde cricketers to bring
this article and lively flow of the incidents and very palatable
godís grace and support from my family and friends I had made in to
the medical college doorsteps to study medicine and to become doctor
wayback in 1982. Never in my life, I was separated from my parents or
had an iota of idea of hostel life. It was a bold decision to leave
parents and brother and sisters and stay in a hostel for the next 6
years of your life. I was staying in the hostel even before I got
admission to the college during the interview time. We had that mind
boggling interviews for admission to St Johnís medical college that
lasted 5 days. It was traumatic to last 5 days of grilling interviews.
To add salt to injury, one has to put up with the humiliation and
ragging that was going on before one got admission to Sain Johns in
Bangalore. Before I got admission this ragging or orientation(the word
framed by the seniors) took place before my dadís eyes. He was
sportive after little bit of reassuring to tell him that is the norm in
a medical college when new students get in.
Finally, my dad left the premises and Bangalore after admitting
me in the hostel and leaving me to fend on myself.
had the peculiar type of orientation or ragging than other medical
colleges. Orientation to the new entrants lasted for 45 days from the
day of the admission. It involved from answering the questions, being
modest and humble to seniors, serving coffee or tea in mess hall,
cleaning seniors dirty rooms, entertaining the seniors in mess in front
of all hostel audience,sporting the trendiest hairstyles (patchy rat
eaten appearance in the scalp), washing their two wheelers etc. Among
all, the hair cut given by the seniors with moth eaten appearance is
more difficult to swallow as it was there for every one to see,
atrocious with the side locks cut short. You are the object of mockery
and fun for this trendiest hairstyle. It had its ups and downs but it
was very traumatic in the early days of hostel life. One side you would
miss your parents then this humiliation in hostel. It was very difficult
to cope with especially keeping awake until the wee hours of morning and
then attending the classes. It was usual to fail the class tests during
year 1982 saw dramatic changes in discipline in professional colleges.
That year Karnataka Govt has barred ragging in medical and engineering
colleges after the directive from Supreme Court and things came to such
a pass that we had cops patrolling the hostel premises in the night.
Still our seniors and hostelites were undeterred and still managed to
trouble juniors. On the brighter side of this, the seniors in the hostel
later become very friendly and helpful after the 45-day period. Until
then you will be looked in disdain and contempt.
me it was hard initially and at times I thought about quitting the
medicine and start some thing elsewhere. It was doing lot of physical
work until late night and then attending the classes in daytime. There
are umpteen times I have gone to lecture classes late and invited the
wrath of professors or stepped late in the anatomy cadaver dissection
classes. People have placed pieces of cadaver meat in lab coats and
scared others. In medical school it is not uncommon to see the whole
skeleton in our rooms to study the bones and osteology and the whole
friends and myself have been subjected to scare with the skeleton. Our
seniors used to make us sit on the femur( thighbone) for hours. It is
hard or impossible but one has to do those types of rigorous exercises.
We have been made to clean the rooms with toothbrushes. It takes ages
and does not make sense but we have been made to do the impossible.
Every evening we have to go to the ground and do the warming up and play
football. I used to enjoy football since I played football before but we
have been subjected to do more physical part rather than real play.
Every one has to attend the mass at 7 PM and then straight head towards
the mess hall and wait in the queue for the dinner. There too our job
was first make plats available to the seniors and then pick the plates
for ourselves. After entertaining the seniors they used to pick us as
group of 2 and take us to their rooms. This used to go on until 3 am.
But still that ďname and shameĒ culture to complain was
warden happened to be our Anatomy Professor that time and he used to
make raids in some rooms with out any notice. Many of our immediate
juniors have been caught or have been reprimanded for their rash
behaviour with the juniors. We had our own St Johns oath, which is
obscene that one has to blurt out every time they ask us to do. But the
ragging has never reached physical in our hostel or aggressive nature
and we have been asked to wash cloths, clean their untidy rooms or to do
their homework. This life went for 40 days. But our warden has been
hearing that still some ragging was going on. But he did not have the
evidence to substantiate that.
one of those Saturday afternoons where after the classes all juniors
have been huddled in one common room in all four blocks. It was happened
to be the last day of ragging. After that day we would be let free. We
can do what we like. We can even swear at our seniors and next day they
would help us with books, teach us complex subjects and accept us in
their open arms to their mainfold. But before that we had this baptism.
You may wonder what this baptism that is taking a real dip in one of the
dirty pond and coming out of that water. As you emerge through water you
will be given a hand by the seniors to invite you to St Johns. This has
been the tradition of St Johns for 20 years. But before that happened
they had littered the floor with water and every one has to swim on the
floor with water crawling on the floor. Though it was hard and
humiliating many entrants and juniors were enjoying and having a ball.
The news had fallen to our wardenís ears and before one could sense he
was there barging in to the hall where juniors were taking a swim. No
one had the presence of mind or premonition that he would be there. This
infuriated him to no end and he was fuming with anger. He has shown the
doors to the seniors and when every senior disappeared he took the
juniors to the task. He asked them to report next day. All of a sudden
all that cacophony and racket has come to a standstill. Our warden was
so angry and I have never seen my Anatomy Professor that angry any time
he left we did have the baptism. What an experience to take the dip in
that dirty pond water. It reminded me of the biblical years when John
the Baptist baptised all people in that Jordan river including our Lord
Jesus. Anyway, I thought it was worth and we had a lively entertaining
programme. That was the end of the ragging for 45 days. I felt the
journey has ended. It did help me to develop the personality that I am
and made us humble and modest. One has to be thick-skinned individual to
go through such arduous ordeal and come out unscathed.
is bad practice and the issue whether it should be eradicated or
encouraged is contentious. If it is done in good spirit and does not
reach physical proportions then it is acceptable. Considering the number
of deaths, suicides and left many more who have been maimed in both body
and mind, I strongly feel it should be banned in total. Unless the
concerned authorities do some thing, it will have serious repercussions
and dangerous consequences. Time being the topic is debatable but if you
have an orientation programme that is aimed at new entrants to adapt the
new entrants to the new environment, then it is acceptable. Otherwise
this evil practice will be a proverbial thorn in students and in their
parents flesh. I do not know what present conditions prevailing now. I
did have the experience 20 years back. This is not a story but did
happen in my medical career and aimed in having awareness among our
youngsters when they set their foot in medical or engineering colleges.
This practice is prevalent even in St Stpehens College, New Delhi,
Xavier's College, Bombay and Loyola College, Madras other than
For a glimpse of the life at Barkur as remembered by Barkurians, check archives
Barkur, located in Udupi Taluk, Karnataka, India. 576 210
Copyright Kishoo, Barkur 2002.