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Ragging, dubbed as other things, still persists in NLSIU, alleges blog

At NLSIU Bangalore a ritual dubbed the “scavenger hunt”, which allegedly resembles ragging, still persists nowadays, 10 years after the notification of the nationwide anti-ragging rules, according to a blog submitted anonymously to Youth Ki Awaaz by a student of the law school.

The blogger wrote that she suffers from a mental health condition that easily triggers social anxiety and describes how it is an unnecessary torment to be forced into “positive interaction”, including the scavenger hunt with senior NLSIU students.

The “positive interaction” at NLSIU allegedly involves sexual harassment and force feeding of alcohol as well but is not reported due to fear of public ostracisation, according to the blog.

The blogger writes:

Yes, waiting outside Himalaya to pounce on first years returning from the Academic Block counts as forcing people into a social situation. Banging on their doors at night does as well. Amalgamating into NLS would have been very difficult for me even without [positive interaction], the whole process just made it worse and all the more exhausting.

There is also this instance from the scavenger hunt where the tallest, thinnest girls in our group were chosen to be auctioned off as part of a challenge. Now, that’s a clear case of objectification. Why I can’t choose to ignore this aspect of PI is because patriarchy intersects with my condition. Take, for instance, being asked to pole dance. I wasn’t asked to do it but the prospect of it frightened me more because of my discomfort with my body.

The blog describes that how the very existence of such rituals is problematic due to their often inherent sexism, casteism, patriarchal constructs, objectification and lack of sensitivity to mental health, but also when seniors try to over-compensate for the harsh interaction by consoling the new students and in the process making them feel worse through being “infantilised”.

It concludes with a suggestion for rethinking some of the ideas of socialising or interacting on campus:

A lot of you might still think I am being silly but what I am going through is very real, at least for me. I suggest that you come up with fresher, FRIENDLIER ideas for interaction with the new batch if you really must interact so much. It might be a fun power trip, but you never know how you’re affecting another person. CulComm also needs to ensure that the scavenger hunt doesn’t turn out to be a series of PI sessions. The ‘ice-breaking session’ felt like a token act after the nightmare that was the scavenger hunt.

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