Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Indians ragging foreigners?

In the light of the recent ragging events where a young life has been tragically lost have you wondered how foreign students who join our universities and colleges are treated?

Many of them particularly from Africa are ignored by the Indian ragging seniors. When I joined MCC in 1985 there was my classmate Abdul Khader from Somalia. Abdul was a good student but left after a year or two of study. He was hardly confronted by a senior but that was not the case in the following story.

This incident could have been an urban legend but I have heard it from many people. The first person who told me was my friend Subra(Subramaniyam) in school who used to stay inside the Anna University campus as his father used to a Professor there.

The story is about an African fresher in Anna University who had a past not many seniors knew. He was alone and had hardly any Indian friends. That reminds me of the "Ottayaan" (in Malayalam) elephant who is feared more than the herd. He was well built and of good height. People who have seen him bare chested recall a gruesome scar running diagonally across his chest. What seniors didn't know was that our African fresher was a small time tribal warrior back in his homeland in Africa who had also fought battles. Sounds nice already doesn't it. Oh you must read the rest.

Although initially none of the seniors even wanted to talk to him some of them were keen to bully the guy just for amusement. Initial encounters were politely rebuffed by our African friend though he was gradually begining to sense the intent behind the meetings. Gradually seniors were losing patience and they decided to go all out to rag the guy. Apprehensive of the outcome they gathered a crowd and decided to corner him in the hostel mess when he would come down for his dinner. So when our friend was having his dinner the big group of seniors accosted him. I am sure out of his warfare-instinct this gathering would have already put him on high alert. Once again he played low to the questions that were slowly increasing in impoliteness. Then the decider came. Someone calls him a "Bastard" and another seizes the collar of his shirt.

What happened in the next 30 minutes was "War" and "Mayhem". Bang! Boom! Crash!Chairs, dinner plates and bodies flew across the dining area of the mess. Bones were broken and blood was spilt. Seniors fled for their lives. A few of them who mustered courage to attack the African were knocked unconscious. It was as though a terrorist had entered the hostel mess and had decided to do away with the seniors there. Other non-ragging seniors and freshers, mess workers and staff fled the area not wanting to get hurt in the melee. All the time just one guy bare handed was doing all this damage. Fleeing seniors bleeding and with torn clothes went knocking at the doors of the resident Warden and Professors in charge to complain of what had just been done to them. For once I am sure the Wardens and officials in charge were smiling inside.

Not much is known of what happened later but it is believed that no one after that incident dared to go near the African warrior any more.

How much we enjoyed listening to and sharing this story only we know. In these times when seniors are still brutally ragging juniors to the death I will not be surprised if such stories are told by someone somewhere in a college in India.

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