The wheels of the current academic season have just begun to chug but the memories of the menace of ragging seems not to have been left behind.
A bus decked with graffiti and posters, beginning its journey across India with the message of anti-ragging, was flagged off from the Delhi University campus on Wednesday as part of a nationwide campaign "Bus- Aur Nahin".
The campaign offers student communities across the country opportunities to speak up against ragging and take a pledge not to rag their juniors.
"...Symbolism works. This is the first time the corporate world is entering the anti-ragging campaign. Any awareness campaign is like telling people and every little bit counts," Raj Kachroo, founder of a nationwide anti-ragging movement told PTI during the flag-off.
Kachroo's 19-year old son Aman Kachroo who was pursuing his MBBS succumbed to ragging on March 7, 2009.
"Ragging actually emanates from the society, the campus is just a breeding ground, the bacteria comes from somewhere else. The campus just provides it an opportunity to grow," says Kachroo who emphasises on raising awareness among the student community about the menace.
The Supreme Court has declared ragging to be a criminal offence in India and under its direction the University Grants Commission has funded a toll-free helpline for students in distress. Every institution is mandated to set up an anti-ragging committee and an anti- ragging squad.
Meanwhile the bus, which begins its journey from Delhi will travel over the period of one month to nine cities across the country visiting over 40 colleges disseminating information about anti-ragging and enlist volunteers in a signature campaign on a giant canvas.
The road show will showcase two short public service films that would be telecast over major national news and youth focused channels. Apart from this students would be invited to participate in a talent hunt to select music bands that express their support to anti-ragging through songs.
"Ragging is not just a phenomenon, it's like a spectrum, its concentration increases from very little to very serious. The current anti-ragging laws are sufficient but the problem is with implementation and follow-up. Laws are actually overdone. This bus is just an advertisement, it has no authority, no law but will make people more aware," he says.
"The legal course alone does not help. We have launched a campaign previously in Tamil Nadu to declare colleges as ragging free," he adds.
Students at Delhi University say they are no longer ragged. "There is no longer ragging on the DU campus, only introductions happens," says Bhupender, 19-year-old student from Zakir Husaain College.