By Ayesha Moti

Ragging or Canning is an act of violence which prevails in many educational institutions especially in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Initially, it was started off by British and in western countries to freshmen to teach manners or hostel ways by seniors but later this trend got popular in such Asian countries for amusement.

Usually, ragging has been associated with torture and humiliation and brings up nightmare in the memory of many college/university students. It has been associated with bullying a new student as soon as they start on their university period.

There are mainly two types of ragging. Verbal and physical are the major types. Usually, verbal ragging is less damaging than physical ragging and the effect it have also varies from person-to-person and gender-to-gender.  Sometimes, verbal ragging involves good sense of humor and fun, which is part of University. Girls in most cases are ragged easily than boys like making them sing, dance or proposing someone. On the contrary, boys are made to bath early in morning with cold water, walk around the campus in half pants, dance on the tables in cafeteria. These are very mild cases; severe cases may put innocent boys to serious mental torture and damage. Someone who resists ragging by their seniors, are put on trials for more harassment on grounds of enmity and revenge. With respect to their height and size, on the basis of physical form ragging is more and more performed on students who are too tall or short, too thin or too fat or might have huge glasses.

But sometimes, ragging turns into serious criminal activities like sexual assault. More than often, hostel authorities know about these prevailing activities but what is worse that they turn to stone to save the reputation of their institutions.


Ragging in India is not less than a huge crime because there these “Fun-activities” turn into sadistic activities resulting into extreme mental torture and sexual harassment. The ragging and the humiliations are upon such extreme cases that the thought of it would make students cry even after they have long settled into their lives. Especially Medical and Engineering colleges have the worst history of raggers. A famous Indian Cricketer, “Suresh Raina” tells that he was ragged in Sports College and was traumatized for six months.

Other famous Bollywood personalities like “Amitabh Bachan”, “Anurag Kashyap” ,“Imtiaz Ali” ,”Manish Gupta”, and “Arjun Rampal” have also been ragged in their respective college periods and have had bitter memories and till today strongly stand against it.


Till today, ragging still prevails but now there have been formed anti-ragging committees with strict rules to prevent it from happening. Many movies like “Three Idiots, Table No. 21 and Munna Bhai M.B.B.S” have been filmed throwing light upon the concept of ragging to create awareness among masses.


According to Sri Lankan universities’ students, many of them do not enjoy universities till the end of first year and are ragged year round.

Ragging in Sri Lanka, involves many worse cases like ragged students’ suicides due to the prevailing political environment. Verbal ragging is unbearable as students are forced to sing vulgar songs and speak foul languages. Physical torture also prevails, involving students to take showers many times during the day and especially at night with ice-cold water. Worst cases may involve sexual abuse. For the women , ragging is thankfully rare.


Bangladesh also faces problems in educational institutes. Ragging there is no less than harassment. Students especially in Public universities are very much in trouble because of this. The cases of ragging get so extreme that even teachers are disrespected when they try to control the situation.

New admissions are ragged most severely during the time when the hostel goes to sleep. They are asked to strip off their clothing and stand for long durations in ice-cold pools. Now a days, even female students do not lag behind in anything and are equally walking side-by-side males in harassing students sometimes, getting so severe in scaring that the victims do not wish to study anymore.

If the same situation prevails and the uninterested attitude of authority prevails, universities especially public universities would not be able to function for majority of the well-behaved class.


Ragging in Pakistan is no hidden or silent issue especially in Punjab region. Medical and engineering universities are most affected via it. Students are not able to adjust the entire first year. Situation in commerce schools are still partly under control. But sometimes the conditions in other medical and engineering higher education schools gets so worse pranks include sexual abuse,  that,  students try to commit suicide and even discontinue. This especially happens in hostels. In but private sector this does not happen to such extremes, but in public universities it is no big deal. The management is aware of but does not do anything to prevent it. Because the students mainly involved are either from wealthy or political families and the management prefers not to challenge them.


The situation in all such countries is more or less same. The management in all institutes are aware of it but does nothing to stop it. They do not realize that it damages the self-esteem of students. Little pranks do not matter to anyone. It’s all part of a learning experience. But anything at extreme level becomes dangerous. When students get ragged, they next year repeat the act as revenge to other juniors making them rebellious. This process will never end unless students themselves voice it out. Telling a weak management will not help. It is the era of technology and social sites. It is an enough hint. The rest lies in the hands of students themselves.

The contributor is a student of CBM University, Karachi. 

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