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Bullying at universities saw 31 commit suicide in India in 7 years. And things aren’t any better here either

Last year I joined university. I had no experience of this life and had never heard about that either. I had two feelings at that time. Certainly one of them was freedom. A freedom from boring life of home till intermediate. But what is the other feeling which subjugates in every mind as mixture of jitters and fear? Every newcomer usually prepares himself to face this blameworthy experience. The experience extracted from the behavior of a senior. Senior in a student society, considered as the esteemed person for an intruder as he is the only one who can interact and behave in his own way. Same was the case with me as first year students were considered separate class in the initial days of campus life.

From campus to hostel, the only thing that interfered was the attitude of the seniors. I had to meet every senior, giving them respect, ignoring the attitude they would show. It is very tough to control yourself when you are degraded and demotivated just for their amusement. You are asked to do some tasks which are against your nature. First two weeks are the weeks of fooling. This term is very common all around the globe related to campus life. Juniors are just like puppets and seniors behave like owners and order them to follow their instructions. Juniors were asked to do some vulgar acts that were physically and mentally tortuous. The seniors would us that they were doing it all only to let us fight our hesitation and to build our confidence.

This is pathetic way to justify bullying just for the sake of fun. This is nothing other than harassment. Some of the juniors are strong enough to deal with these situations but majority isn’t. And this resistance is considered a violation of the code created by the seniors. Then those juniors are treated in a gaudy manner. After this type of subordination, they somehow expect to be respected.

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Such attitude can have long term psychological effects on the victim. I know people who even resorted to drug abuse to forget the humiliation that they felt at the hands of their seniors. Moreover, in the government universities especially, the difference on the basis of caste and region is still very much a reality. As I belong to Seraiki region, I was offered to join the Seraiki Council. The seniors who invited me tried to convince me, saying it would help me in every problem related to my study or any other problem but I found most of them just wasting their time and they often got involved in fighting with other councils that were also established for the same purpose. As majority of newcomers are unaware about the purpose of these societies and councils, they realize at quite a late stage that it’s a terrible mistake that they commit by joining these bodies. Due to this alarming situation, I found vacant seats in co-curricular society meetings. I found irrelevant people working on the designations that they do not deserve. This factor is just because the talent is not utilized according to the assets.

But not all seniors are the same. I found many of them motivating the juniors all the time. They earn respect and only they invest in affectionate behavior and words because words have the power to touch the feelings of a person. These seniors never show any attitude to their juniors, they never let their juniors feel that no one is there to support them. They help them in study, they help them in their other issues as well. They are the real strength for juniors to participate in positive activities and groom them. They never interfere in their personal lives just for joy. Even when the juniors complete their degrees, many of these seniors also help them find employment. They not only treat the juniors as friends but are like a family-member whom we can share each and everything in a tension free environment. They are mentors. They help developing the skills to live with dignity.

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Good and bad are part of life. It depends on us how we differentiate between them. Seniors who degrade the juniors in any form must be demotivated and there should be strict laws in government institutes against ragging/harassing/bullying anyone. In last 7 years, 31 cases of suicide were reported in India as the ratio is much higher in these South Asian countries including Pakistan, India, China and Bangladesh. Seniors need to act like seniors, not bullies.

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