Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Is it really funny?

I came to know that recently released movie 3 Idiots has a scene on ragging, shown in a lighter sense. This is director Raj Kumar Hirani's second film, first being Munnabhai MBBS, where ragging has been used as a theme to make the audience laugh.

Today I tried surfing on net to find the details of this ragging scene and came across several hundred blogs and websites where this scene was immensely appreciated and was considered one of the most humorous scenes in the film.

I find this extremely shocking as hardly 9 months back, when a medical student died because of ragging, the entire nation stood as one and we all condemned this menace. However today it seems we have forgotten the tragedy perhaps too soon that we are trying to find humor in that same tragic issue.

This not only shows the insensitivity towards the issue but more importantly such acts significantly add to the confusion already existing in the society vis-a-vis ragging. Millions of people, who don't know anything about ragging but have watched Munnabhai MBBS, still remember the scene from this film and believe that ragging is all about dance and fun.

This act of glorifying ragging by showing it in lighter way in films, newspapers, etc. does nothing but strengthens the justification, which students give to support ragging.

Here I am not suggesting of censorship usually advocated by social activists. I believe that censorship must come from within, by the call of conscience. Nevertheless, we all know that film is always considered as reflection of society and what film does reflect in this case is our poor understanding and thus lack of sensitivity with regard to the issue of ragging.

I remember, in June this year I was watching We the People on NDTV 24X7, the discussion was on evils of ragging. However, as usual the discussion soon turned into a debate on mild ragging versus no ragging and surprisingly majority of the participants justified mild ragging for ice-breaking between students.

It is needless to explain here that all the tragic cases of ragging started only in their milder forms. We cannot define what is mild ragging. Stripping or dancing in public may be fun for someone but extreme trauma for others. Moreover I fail to understand the logic of holding a week long ragging mela to facilitate mass friendship-something which is extremely amusing and sounds like a forced friendship crash course.

I doubt we would even think of having a debate on mild terrorism or mild caste system. Similarly I doubt any film director would be so insensitive to try to extract humor from sensitive social issues like Sati or Dowry.

We need to ask ourselves that why there is still so much ambiguity about social issue like ragging. Why does the society still see ragging as fun? Have we made enough efforts to sensitize people about the evils of ragging?

I strongly believe that we are yet to establish ragging as a social evil and unless we address this fundamental problem, we will always find it difficult to implement the laws framed to contain ragging.