21 May, 2019

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Dear Shanilka

By Paramie Jayakody –

Paramie Jayakody

I never intended to make this note public, and I hoped I would never have to. Shanilka, it may be too late for you, but I think you would have agreed that no one should go into the hell we went into uninformed. 

To everyone reading this letter, all of you think the local Universities are the great shining beacons of promise for you, your sibling, your child, your friend. Let me dash your hopes at the very beginning and tell you, it’s not. Not at all. Dashing your hopes is very important because more than anything else, hope is what screws things up for you. You’ll see why when you read on. 

The first day, you walk into uni (mine was Mora, so I’ll just tell you how it was like for me). You get amazed at how big it is, how spacious, how sprawling. You look at the map and see a medical center, a bookshop, food court, sports area, auditorium. It’s like a mini city. Life for four years here wouldn’t be bad at all, you think. After all, you look forward to it. You already talked to a friend who is also studying here, and they assured you that Mora was a rag free, friendly place. 

You sit in the auditorium wearing a white blouse, surrounded by 200 other white blouses and shirts, receiving a welcome token from the senior batch. You listen to the welcomes given out by various members of the institute, boasting of the prowess of the university and how lucky we are to get selected into state universities. You listen to them say how mora is a rag free and peaceful place, and the seniors welcome you in a very friendly manner. 

You finish day 1. You’re happy. You go to your new boarding place, which is within walking distance, and like that too. It’s nice, secluded, and private. It’ll be a haven for you if you need it, but you’re sure that’ll never happen.

Day 2 and 3 pass, orientation happening. The people are bunching together like quiet herds of sheep, with the female and male herds keeping a clear gap between the two. It’s all quiet, but its the first week. It’s okay. Day 4, the student union comes to talk. Mix up, they tell us. Wear skirts, they tell the few girls who are wearing trousers. They proceed to lay down rules, most reasonable, some not. They’re strict. They raise their voices. That’s the first sign you get that something isn’t right. 

Lectures start from week 2. We’re supposed to go to breakfast, then lectures, make friends, finish lectures and go home. Don’t talk to the seniors, don’t go for sports, no extracurriculars, nothing else. Just that. How the hell do you make friends if you have no time to bond, you think.

The lectures start. It takes you all of one day to realize that out of the 3 hours of the lecture, 1-2 hours are spent on lecturing the students on non-subject related things, boasting about themselves, and boasting about the government university system. 

Over the next few weeks, life falls into a boring routine. Wake up, get dressed, hate your skirt (in the boys case, hate the shirt and slacks),  go to uni, have breakfast, go to class, lunch, go to class again, get a guy to take you home (cause we girls aren’t supposed to go alone) the long way, cause juniors aren’t allowed to use the back gate, the shorter route. You don’t make many friends other than the one other person who went to school with you, cause you don’t have time to talk to people, and you don’t want to be seen with one person too much because that is how they target you.

Week 4, the student union tells you that the senior batch is ready to meet you. Oh okay, you think, especially since you can now meet your friend. Not even 10 seconds after they come into the group, they start yelling at the whole batch, using vile filth that is only good enough for the gutters from which they probably crawled. 

For the next two hours they proceed to terrorize the batch, picking out individuals and ripping into them for things like growing beards, not coming to uni at 7am for breakfast (even though lectures are at 8.30) not wearing a long enough skirt, not knowing who a random other batchmate is, for speaking in English and so on. By the time they leave, the whole batch is shaken, and half the girls are reduced to tears. 

Your friend, who you looked forward to meeting, looks through you like you don’t exist. No rag, you realize, meant only that they wouldn’t touch you physically inside the campus.

After that, you live in terror. Cause they know exactly who you are, where you live, who lives close to you, where you come from, everything. Their eyes follow you every minute of every day and if you step out of line, they know, and not only you, the entire batch has to suffer the consequences at the next weekly meeting. The boarding was to be a haven, but they know where that is too, and they know if and when you walk out of it. They make a show of not doing anything to the girls at first. If a girl does anything wrong, the guys with her, or the batch reps, pay the price. And then at the next meeting, the entire batch gets yelled at because of that.

You have to know all 300 people in the batch, they say. All 300 numbers in the phone, their names, hometowns, parents names, occupations, schools, all of it should be in your head, they say. And every week, people stay up late into the night trying to remember, but consequently failing, and every week the yelling doesn’t let up. You know its an impossible task and they just want to yell at you anyway, but knowing doesn’t help anything.

Telling the family is almost not an option. They sent you here with hope and dreams, how could you tell them you don’t want to go there anymore? You hear the pride in their voices when they talk about you, and you don’t want to disappoint them. 

And then, you feel it creeping in. The despair, as you slowly realize the dreams you had of having a life here, to live freely, of making your life better, were never going to come true. And with that realization, you start wondering if it’s even worth it. But it’s free, you convince yourself. You came here to not burden your parents with money for your higher education, you tell yourself. Its just four years. You can get through it. But night after night, you feel it crashing in your mind, and sometimes, you can’t remember when you were last happy. Every morning you dread waking up, until getting ready is simply a mechanical action to you.

As it gets worse, and you’re forced to stay late at uni, sometimes until 1 or 2 am, or go back to uni at unorthodox hours, you try to reach out to people. You reach out to people you haven’t spoken with in ages. They mock you, tell you you’ll never make it in local uni, tell you that you’re a stupid idiot for even trying and that you’re just weak. You get hurt. Talking about emotions doesn’t work, you think. 

You speak more and more to people who seem to understand. And you find yourself going all the way to Colombo after lectures, just to meet people that don’t force you to be anything but yourself. Just to have an hour of time without the pressure in your head. Just to have some little time of peace. You’re desperate, because you feel so alone. 

It doesn’t get better, it always keeps getting worse. You wonder why no one else doesn’t understand how fundamentally wrong this is. You go on a batch trip, instead of enjoying yourself, the batch reps are more concerned with breaking up the small groups of friends and putting on an act of ‘batch fit’ for the seniors. No one seems to realize how wrong it is. Isn’t a trip just to enjoy yourself? 

You wonder why all the staff just turns a blind eye. Surely those people aren’t that stupid, right? But all they do is preach about ‘rag free Moratuwa’ and ignore the blatant bullying that happens just around the corner.

In early November, the torture was doubled. They still kept their hands off the girls, but started calling the guys away during the night, where they would take them to their boardings and rag them till 3 or 4 am. Since it was off campus premises, they got physical.

The girls weren’t supposed to know, but we noticed when the guys came to class moving gingerly. After that, every night was stressful, waiting for a message at 10 pm to say “Not tonight” so you could sleep till tomorrow. If not, you would be awake in the early morning hours, waiting to see if they got back okay, and seeing if your friends who lived in the boarding next to you needed anything. 

You struggle to live, to keep your sanity. The thought of home, friends and family, is all that keeps you from jumping off the balcony, even when you end up there with no recollection of opening the doors. You struggle, you cope, but you’re not sure how long you can last. 

You start skipping lectures. It’s not like you like them anyway. You feel at peace, all alone in your boarding room. You try to tell yourself that it’s okay, that it’s fine. You take a break, and after ages, go home for an entire week. Vacation starts.

But vacation wasn’t like you imagined. Home is stressing you out. You feel antisocial, introverted, not ready to mingle at all, and you have to deal with your family’s endless questions and pride, not realizing they sent you into hell. 

You wonder, later, what was wrong with you? Why were you so weak that you weren’t even able to endure a few months of that? But what sealed the deal was, after vacation, when they said rag season is over, you walked into uni and saw the seniors watching you, saw your batchmates cringe, and you realized it was never going to end. We were already conditioned that way. You walk out after just one session, never intending to come back. 

You dread telling your parents, but you finally gather your courage and do it. You try to explain how they torture your mind, not your body. You try to explain the constant pain and despair. You try, you fail, but they understand. You never set foot in Mora again. You don’t answer the phone, you simply try to forget it ever existed. 

From my own experience, that is how it is. And my batch, my batch was a bunch of stupid cowards, like all the batches before us. Stupid for not realizing we could change things if we stood against them together. Cowards for not even thinking of that option. And bullies, for I’m sure they are now inflicting that same torture on the batch below us. Why can’t you ever learn?

And for that senior batch who terrorized us, and their seniors and their seniors, and everyone in this never-ending cycle, why did you do it? Did you get some sort of sick, twisted pleasure in watching the fear in our faces, watch all our hopes die? Did you enjoy crushing our spirits? Was it all just a game to you? Let me tell you this. I blame you. I blame you for going through the same thing in your year and not being man enough to stop the cycle. I blame you for not understanding that this is not okay. I blame you for knowingly stepping over the limit. You’re not building up our characters, you’re breaking them. I blame you for being classless, tasteless bullies. And most of all, I blame you for the nice civilized mask you present the world. 

When I’m still told that I’m a disappointment for quitting a prestigious local uni, I blame you. When I’m reminded to go to my appointment with my counselor, I blame you. When even a light-hearted ribbing among friends makes me sick to my stomach, I blame you. When I dreaded starting going to a new uni so hard the first student union meeting made me ill for half a week, I blame you. When at my new, private university, I’m plagued with flashbacks and nightmares that leave me shaken, I blame you… And I always will.

Why everyone else is still okay, how they pretend university life is so great, how it all looks so amazing in their social media, I will never understand. But maybe they just didn’t have better moments in their lives to compare. 

Shanilka, I am so so sorry, for what was done to you. I don’t know what you went through, and I’m sure mine doesn’t even compare. I had a family to go back to. I had other options. Or I convinced myself to make other options. I’m sorry that fate decided only one of could make it out of there (barely) alive. But as always, we live in Sri Lanka, where the public face matters more than dealing directly with issues. 

Sincerely, 

Someone who tries, every day, to leave the past where it belongs.

Writer’s note: This is a response after a recent ragging related suicide was reported in local media. Shanilka Wijesinghe hung himself at his home in Kurunegala after several months of enduring mental and physical torture from his senior peers at the Diyagama campus of the University of Moratuwa. The writer, having attended said university (which boasts a rag free environment) and left, shares a similar experience. Shanilka was a first-year student at the time of his passing.

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Latest comments

  • 13
    0

    Thank you Paramie, for telling it as it is, for speaking your heart out. It’s too late for Shanilka as you said, but will the others ever learn? Who among our leaders in the relevant fields will stick his neck out and stop this rot?

    • 2
      0

      Now its time for mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters to come out and stand in front of these Uni’s with placards “stop your cowardly , beastly ragging” . Give them a taste of their own medicine. Here we are in colombo caught in bottle necked traffic when these buffoons descend on us with their absurd demands. Yes it is the Uni trade unions backed by some unscrupulous political parties who goad them and black mail them to get on the roads. The Uni academic staff are also a cowardly, pathetic lot who prefer to look the other side.

      The words of Wijesinghe his father, at the funeral: “My son is no more but don’t ever let this happen to any other innocent child like mine, that is my plea to those responsible.”
      “I know the President wants to save the children from drugs, I hope that ragging at universities too will come to his attention, it is as serious as drugs,” he said.

    • 2
      0

      Parami
      The notion among the present day undergrads at the university are its a fake story and as such that you have mentioned in your article that there’s no Ragging in Moratuwe University policy is still maintained.
      Please inform us what’s going on. We shouldn’t make it worse for the grieving parents. We as readers gets confused too…..
      CT please clarify this .. Who is confusing who???

      • 4
        0

        Hi Analyst,

        The story is not fake, it’s my personal experience, and even though I don’t remember names I am able to walk in there and point out the perpetrators at any given time as well.
        As I clearly mentioned in the article, the policy of “rag free environment” is preached but not practiced, and they make it an excuse to carry out the physical torture off campus

        • 2
          0

          Thankyou Paramie J for your explanation.
          If the physical torture is off campus can it be termed as Ragging ? Or is it Knoŵn as Torture which comes under the heading as GBH ( grievous bodily harm)
          or IA ( indecent assault ) ? These are violence against another human of chargeable violence. So the tortured students/ parents are in a conundrum!!
          From the frying pan into the fire situation?? While the University maintains their policy but still violence of Ragging takes place elsewhere, WHO PROTECTS THE STUDENTS??
          The law will say it’s the Uni’s problem the Uni will say it’s not within their premises so no case to answer.
          It’s a catch 20 situation. I feel the Law should apply as well as the University too need PROTECTING their students .
          My point is the University maintains their policy as Rag Free so does the students too feel that the policy is in operation! and they feel safe in 2019 .
          The University should take care of its students ,not washing hands off or passing the bucket. When students enter a University a bond is signed or formed . Like the students are protected by their school within their premises !! No control outside??

          • 1
            0

            UOM Campus Premises belongs to the Uni as well , so protection of all of their students belongs to the UOM , no question of passing the Buck!!!

          • 0
            0

            Dear Analyst,
            .
            Any conundrum that is seen to exist is there only because the authorities are looking for excuses to not act. In a context such as is described above, they ought to act immediately, but not delay in bringing the matter before the law courts. The judges will have to think a little harder, maybe, but they ought to act boldly, and let the raggers use both the courts above the primary court to appleal.
            .
            It is true that as you go up the hierarchy of courts the accent will shift from the crimes committed to the legalities that are involved.
            .
            In this Shanilka case there has been murder. If despite that, legalities allow murderers are shielded owin to shield murders to hell with all the Law Courts. Does my saying that constitute “contempt of courts”? We must have the courage to say that we hold on to our views. Will we be executed for saying so? Improbable, but if the State goes ahead, we must be ready for it.
            .
            If put to the test am I going to go through with all this? I’m not sure, but I hope so. Let’s stop being afraid of hypothetical arguments.
            .
            Shall post this now as my daughter has phoned from Maharagama about the Easter Sunday Church bombings – in six places. Must we always delay action until huge incidents take place?
            .
            I had a problem with Internet data, so the delay in my finding out.

  • 12
    0

    Thanks for sharing Paramie. These animals are doing more than the LTTE to destroy Sri lanka

    • 11
      0

      Lalith, you raise a very important point. The LTTE only took our bodies but these vermin corrode our hearts.

      • 1
        0

        High time and hope Govt: worthies & Higher Educational authorities will wake up from their lethargic deep slumber and take tangible measures PRONTO to prevent such unfortunate happenings! A flower bud has been wilted before being blossomed and the hopes of his poor parents and the loved ones have been drooped!

  • 8
    0

    Amazing how the authorities try to portray the Moratuwa university as rag-free. What are the authorities doing while all this is going on at their very noses. Vice Chancellors, Student councilors, marshals are all there to protect the first years from getting ragged. All of them like the proverbial ostrich are trying to cover up all their sins by hiding and it is all because they are mortally scared of taking any action on senior students and the unions. They should catch a few of the raggers and hand them over to the police since universities inquiries are conducted by academics who may have been rag leaders during their student days and hence are always on the side of raggers. Like in India anyone caught ragging should be expelled from the universities. Sometime ago 15 undergraduates from the faculty of agriculture at the University of Peradeniya were caught and produced in courts. Yet the University has not suspended them and the spineless Vice Chancellor, inquiring committee and the appeals committee all decided to reinstate them at the University. All these academics who have ragged freshmen in their hay days do not have any sympathy to the tortured but only the torturers.

    • 2
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      moda Sinhalaya
      The students have been brain washed too at present to believe that the Uni is Rag Free.
      So who is in charge of the propaganda machine presently ??
      Are the Authority or the Thuggish Seniors spreading Lies ? when infact it’s riddled with Ragging even now. I wonder how the parents must be taking ? They need support !!

  • 15
    0

    Dear Paramie Jayakody,
    .
    Thanks for letting us all know that ragging has now only become better organised, the sadism is still there, with efforts made by the perpetrators to be more cautious in their approach.
    .
    We must be ever more vigilant to identify the handful of sick minds that plan all this and which should be hounded out of society. However, let us not imagine that this happens only in Universities. Gotabaya Rajapaksa, and a disgusting fellow calling Ret. Lt. Shamil Perera who trolls on CT belong to the same category.

    • 10
      0

      Dear Sinhala Man,
      .
      I have no idea about your days at Pera. On the very first day itself, it was horrible for me. I was thrown to a water stream, with our suitcases kept on our heads, it was near a busstop (if my memory is right, near to sarasavi uyana station). All these were well organised by barbaric seniors ( of varied walks of life, most of them were rural students) that were ready to welcome us with brutal ragging events (this was late 80ties). Looking back I now feel, how could they excercise that much more power on us, as freshers, being 2 or 3 years senior to us. Besides, today, even if you are a post doc researcher, would not care about you being that senior. I know prodigious number of post docs that have published a lot in science research, but would never care about their academic levels. To that time, being elected to a local Uni was a blessing by all circles.
      :
      Above all, I still remember we were asked to jump on our knees, keeping us on a cement floor, with sharp sand particle left on it… it was so painful..some of our freshers got injurred on their knees as they could not walk properly in the follwing weeks. None of us were allowed to share these to any 3 rd parties, as we were instruced by those seniors. I thought, it was an open hell. I was also attacked by many of them, 1 -2 I was in the middle of deep sleep, had been packed in a bed cover and thrown on to a pond filled with polluted waters. So brutal it had then been. Had I got the chance to leave the country, I too could hav ebeen found among the youth, whose existence is out of records. All in all, I hate JVPrs and those state squads and their brutalities towards the end of late 80ties.

      • 4
        0

        Had not I got the chance to move out of the country… I too could have been found among the youth ..that went missing in that brutal era..

    • 3
      0

      Dear LEELAGEMALLI,
      .
      This is a sad story, and it must be dealt with seriousness, but there are no easy answers. It’s all pretty complex.
      .
      We have to be serious, but not solemn all the time. This Shakespeare realised. So, in his darkest tragedies, you will find comic relief. You name the play, I’ll show you where the purely comic elements are: Romeo and Juliet, Julius Caesar, Hamlet, Troilus and Cressida (I taught it in the Maldives, but I can’t’ remember it properly), Othello, King Lear, Macbeth, Anthony and Cleopatra, Coriolanus (I fudged this last slightly – please don’t inform Peradeniya University!)
      .
      Yes, if you name Coriolanus, I’ll have to do some study. But comic relief there definitely will be.
      .
      The rules drawn up for Athenian Drama did not allow for mixing. So, Sophocles’ Οἰδίπους Τύραννος (Oedipus the King) is unrelieved tragedy. The one approach cannot be said to be superior to the other.
      .
      I entered Peradeniya in 1982 and did not get ragged. I’ve said enough. If you want to know my secret, you’ll have to ask for clarification.
      .
      This comment may sound a bit flippant, but my approach to ragging is far from that. I know that horrible things were done. How I escaped ragging is a different story, but life has hardly been a bed of roses for me, either.
      .
      There’s so much more to be done to put the world right! Not in my time, I fear.

  • 3
    1

    This is a very complicated issue. Any how we should preserve our Government universities. First of all a serious social survey should be done deeply going to this matter for making recommendations how these students who rag seriously.The situation should be analysed so that so that how they come to this mindset We should not forget there is a underline programmed going on to undermine the noble value of these universities. These are our assets. We know many leaders who do not haave even common sense. If we are not careful foolish sons of them would take the chairs of expert professionals. That is the end of our noble country . I suggest CID to have investigation too in parallel to ascertain how this happens.

  • 11
    0

    RIP Shanika.
    We the Srilankans are still Uncivilised is the first and foremost truth.
    The village idiots and and the head swollen Townies do not think so when they enter the Third class UNIVERSITIES. in our SL.
    Few decades ago yes ! these 3rd Class Unies were actually were providing 1st Class degrees.
    Not anymore.
    The frogs doesn’t know that yet . Straight from their Punnakk eating homes into these 3rd class institutions to behave like Thugs and Rowdies to instil HURT AND MISERY to the Juniors.
    This is another Curse we gave inherited from the a ELITE THUGS from the Towns and villages.
    If the government does not put a stop to it this Curse will continue forever .
    Do we need to wait for more young lives to take their own lives in the name of Uncivilised ragging in SLankan Unis??!
    Srilanka is still the 3rd world country these Swollen headed uncivilised Raggers are the future National Bullies of the Nation.

  • 5
    0

    Reading this brought back memories from the 8 months of ragging that I endured at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Sri Jayawardanepura. I think it’s time to stop using the word Ragging and start using the word Bullying because that is what’s happening inside the local unis. I can personally relate to your experience of trying to memories the names and details of other batch mates in my case it was 800 and the experience of getting yelled at for nothing. Even after the period of bullying is over the fear you have developed doesn’t leave you whenever you see a senior and I found my self cursing them every time I saw them walking around. I’m so sorry that you had to leave because of those monsters and I’m sorry about students who loose their valuable lives every day as a result of this. No matter how many platforms are available to address this issue, nothing seem to work and that’s tragic, incomprehensibly tragic 💔

  • 1
    0

    I wonder how the “Peratugami” and “JVP” did not get a mention here – in the article or comments.

  • 5
    0

    Being an academic of University of Kelaniya I sincerely appreciate your courage in expressing your physical and mental agony on raging.

    Now it is time to act. I fully support the student movement of Nadunana Minissu comprising the students of several university. Its press conference recently held at CSR encourage all anti ragging people. If academics are really genuine to stop ragging now they have student movement to rally round.

  • 5
    2

    Most Uni Unions are controlled by the JVP,
    JVP Boss who is living in Dr Rail’s pocket has never spoken of the dirty rascals who terrorize our poor Village Kids who come to get a Uni Education.

    It is About time our Youth in the South formed their own AAVA, and put up posters in all Unis that the “Raggers” will lose their Balls if they harass the poor students.
    I am sure our off duty STF and Army Boys can give the Sinhala AAVA boys a helping hand..

  • 7
    0

    Our patriotic instincts are to praise our free education system. So, with the supreme backing of our government, the best they can offer is a university ranked just below 2000 in the world ranking. The rest that follow are even more pathetic on a global comparison. A major cause of such low esteem is the woeful lack of discipline and the poor support systems offered to students who are asked to make a major leap in circumstances, especially those from the rustic outstation schools they come from.

    Of course free education must remain the jewel in our national crown, but free education must not be a good-for-nothing of a poor-standard. Still, this is what we have to suffer after electing self-serving politicians who take office only to serve themselves (and their hangers-on) and with scarce regard for the rest.

    There will be more sad stories like this before the truth sinks in.

  • 2
    0

    Frankly, I am moved by the description of the so called rag free University of Moratuwa (UOM). But I have deduced from the contents that the NDT course is conducted in Diyagama not in Moratuwa. In significant cases, the so called rag is not limited to physical but sexual as well. This description does not reveal that. Most fresh students go mad when they are subject to sexual torture whether male or female and naturally they commit suicide. We talk of accountability and even say that a head of a force or head of a government must be responsible for acts of torture allegedly performed by the minions. Why not for starters, the head of the institution at Diyagama be held accountable for the death of this student? Must the beloved of this dead student file a case in the Federal District Court of California for it to work? I think if in some form or the other if the head of the Diyagama unit is taken to task then this would be a lesson for other heads of institutions to go after raggers, instead of turning a blind eye. I am told that the entire complexion of decision making among bureaucrats changed with the conclusion of the “Silredi” case. Note carefully that this menace even prevails in schools. For years, the new team members of rough sports in various schools are subject to the rag, of course including sexual. The real issue is the so called big wigs tend to distinguish an incident as a mild rag and the distinction between a serious one and a mild is conveniently blurred. MY3! Why don’t you give your “Maduwalige” treatment to the head of the unit at Diyagama in public?

    • 0
      0

      Thanks for the information, Good Sense.
      .
      It strikes me many readers will not know where “Diyagama” is. It is on the Kottawa-Horana Road, isn’t it? And having said that, I think it sensible to also say that this road is quite different from the better known Colombo-Horana Road that goes through Piliyandala.
      .
      From that point on, no need to say more! All readers here are computer users who can use Google Maps!

  • 3
    1

    May be it’s appropriate to employ a no nonsence Army man to irradicate this menace from our a Universities.
    A Disciplinarian be employed to stop the Rot.
    As I have mentioned here above employing a no nonsence Army man will be right. As we ŵere aware how an Army man was employed recently in a Private school to control the Parents and students behaviour became unacceptable nationwide.
    There’s a difference ofcourse.
    These are young adults inflicting hurt and misery leading to deaths is unacceptable.
    It is certainly a chargeable Offence which needs to be addressed by Law.
    This is practising BARBARISM on other humans is an Offence of a serious nature.
    The Past Raggers who are in high positions now need to differentiate the Ragging how it was in the past and the Present day Ragging and make a comparative study and produce a fact finding papers for all to see.

    • 3
      0

      Totally agree that a no nonsense army man should be posted as the VC along with an army contingent if the current cowardly VCs have no courage or spine to control ragging. In Pakistan there are three vice chancellors who are former army men after the academic VCs failed to control the interference of student unions in administrative matters.
      Of course it is JVP earlier and now the peratugamis who are behind all this barbaric ragging. They have no support among common masses and they feel only by producing graduates with their spines broken they can swell their membership. All those who go on processions demanding jobs from the government are victims of ragging who later turn out to be torturers. I think the government should do what the AVVA group did in Jaffna to stop ragging. Only when some of these rag leaders are eliminated this menace will stop. There should be intelligence gathering to identify the rag leaders and they should be targeted.
      Government at the highest levels has not seen this as a major national problem. May be those parliamentarians who attended any university may have been rag leaders themselves and hence keep their mouths shut.

      • 2
        2

        Dear appuhamy,
        .
        That simple solution won’t work. It may make matters worse.
        .
        This approach that you suggest has been tried and has failed. About that I can speak with some authority. I did what I could. One problem with us humans is that our memories are short, so it would be good for you to go back to this: when race comes in, it gets worse. I actually gave evidence:
        .
        https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/violence-against-tamils-at-peradeniya-university-a-portent/
        .
        I don’t think that there is a direct link between Marxist student movements and ragging. I must confess that I don’t know the position right now. I have the impression that the Frontline Socialist fellows (Peratugami) are more serious-minded than the others.
        .
        For me Marxism is something that attempts to make the world better; it almost becomes another religion, but without a God. Today is Good Friday, the day God died!
        .
        Anyway, I don’t have much truck with religions nowadays. I’ve got too old to believe such fairy stories. I’ve never studied Marx and Engels, either – I only know that the two names go together.
        .
        However, for me, militaries are worse! I want investigations into the ending of the War!

    • 3
      0

      Analyst, Last govt tried to stem the rag by providing training at the army camps. That did not work.The best solution is to hold the ac ademics repsonsible.If action can be taken on this suicide and arrest the academics for negligence that could be the start.Another techniique could be to close the University for five years and take back the students after five years after they pay the fees for the five years together for the current year. One cannot discriminate, the punishment should be implemented on all – then somebody will rebel and talk.

      Worst case arrest the VC and the academic staff and charge them for murder. There may be protests, send a squar with axes to control them.
      This govt and the past govts have no backbone – the two doctors at Galaha should have been charged for negligence and murder and remanded. Let thenm fight their case and come out. The same should be applied to the Nurse and Union chief for the death of the child..

  • 7
    1

    This is why the government should privatise all the state universities. Grant interest free student loans to the under privileged. University education is not free in any country in the world. Provide free education up to GCE AL and charge them for university education. Private universities will definitely maintain discipline. Look at all the developed countries, follow them. Free education should end with higher secondary school. Provide interest free loans to those who cannot pay. Let them repay in installments after they get a job and start earning.

    • 3
      0

      Deva You are right. The free education was meant for the poor, today parents who earn over Rs 100,000 a month and in some cases even Rs 1,000,000 a month demand free education for their children Re GMOA.
      President was in Blunder re grade v exam.
      If the rich are made to pay for their children’s education, then they will organise their own schools, their own Universities.
      SAITM was right but this bac kboneless govt succumbed.

  • 2
    2

    Why is the parents doing nothing about this ragging. We are supposed to have a culture where we think of the other.
    Lecturers hiding behind the classes take some action. Get the culprits remanded, use cameras to the premises so that they cant hurt the innocent victims.

    • 4
      0

      Sudharshini, Sudharshini, grow up and read the article.
      The students have been warned by Bullies to keep mum or face the consequencs.
      Means say no to no one and bear the bullying . Brunt the worse punishments if divulged to third party, including the parents until they see their son’s / daughter’s body hanging in their bedroom.
      How awful is that??
      Yes someone above have mentioned about Aavas in the North have threatened students against Ragging in the Jaffna Uni , those indulge in will face severe punishment.
      Shameful to know Civil societies are involving on civil decisions when the Country’s Law & Order have no power but listening to the Past University bullies ( Raggers) experiences in saying boys and girls becoming men and women! What?? What’s this ? ” pMan up “by getting bullied constantly for being in the University??
      I thought the Parents sent their children to study not to ” Man Up” ?? Bullies should be expelled. Never to return to Uni for ever, they are fit to be in Pettah market selling Fish.

  • 3
    3

    another colonial tradition we inherited from the british
    which makes student life nasty brutish and short
    fortunately for them mahinda,mathri and ranil never went to university

    • 5
      0

      Nalmen, this is not a colonial tradition. It is our own tradition to drag down and hurt anyone who speaks better than us, or who is cleverer, or who even looks different to us. Class, race and language also come into play in this tradition.

      • 0
        0

        Naiman, Ragging had been going on in temples otherwise what is the explanationf or abiththayas as young as 12 years.

  • 2
    0

    This is so unfortunate, and sad. One would expect those who make it to University has some intelligence, and that they should realize that bullying is cowardly. They are ganging up and picking on defenseless people, who eager to fit in, and happy to start their courses that will help them lead better lives, are treated like animals, and taken advantage of. Shame on those who act like thugs and bullies. They must have sadistic tendencies, that makes them lose their compassion, and pick on the vulnerable. Damn them. They ended the hopes and dreams of a young life.

  • 4
    0

    Like to see the ceo of.this university fired and jailed for not taking action to sack these bullies and goons. These are abunch of perverted sick demented masochists and cads that need to be dealt eith by the law. Suggest vigilante groups be established and these cowards be given a sound thrashing that they will never forget.

  • 1
    2

    Don’t get unduly exited, this is just an question. What do you think would happen if Gota was given the job of ending ragging and bullying? He would do it wouldn’t he? So why can’t any other leader? Because they don’t give a damn.

    • 1
      0

      This has nothing to do with the political leadership. The chancellor of the university is guilty of gross negligence which has resulted in the sad death of a young student who was harrassed and tortured by these goons. Legal action must be initiated both against the senior management of the uni and the criminal bullies who were responsible.

      • 0
        0

        Mokade badu, I’m sorry I have to disagree. The Chancellor won’t lift a finger until he has checked with the Education minister, who will check with the PM or President.
        Similarly legal action will never be taken without approval from above. Everything is to do with political leadership.

        • 2
          0

          Dear paul and Mokade badu ,
          .
          To make peace between the two of you, I’m going to say that both of you are right.
          .
          It will require courage both at the top and at the bottom for us to put things right. One of these days I may write about my [prestigious] Old Schools in such a way as to make the point clear. Humbugs certainly must be exposed!
          .
          Let us not quarrel among ourselves, please. It lets the real crooks get away.

  • 1
    0

    For decades, no one wanted to punish the head of the institution
    for ragging taking place at his/her inst.. Why now? Leaders of Peratugami party are the people who should be punished for all sorts of unrest at these institutions

  • 2
    0

    Paramie , it was a nice read. I think what the senior raggers want is to snub the upper tiered juniors ( in intelligence/ social class/ economical status) and have a facade of superiority. What they do not realize is that they only gain disrespect from them. The chances for mutual understanding gets lost and only a venomous distaste will persist. I wish everyone will try to make the youngsters except the social norms and that by hard work most can reach any tier of social standing without obstacles in SL unlike in our neighbor or be a global citizen.

    • 2
      1

      Dear Tania,
      .
      You mean a powerful article, surely not a “nice read”. I read it once, only commenting on comments since then.
      .
      I found this so painful that I felt the need to call for some “comic relief”.
      .
      The rest of your comment is O.K. regarding substance. I’m going on the premiss that the more who join in condemning this horrible killing the better.
      .
      P.S. “accept” rather than “except” – added as an afterthought. Also, with “chances” as subject the verb should be the plural “get”. Now, I wonder if I’m ragging you?

  • 1
    0

    SKM; Thank you for at least mentioning of “Peratugami” and “JVP”. These are the two powerful political parties that control the “Student Unions” in the Universities. Both these political parties , out in the “Public Arena” talk so “LOUD” and “CLEAR” of the establishment of a “SAMAJAWADI SOCIETY”. What have they done to first “BEGIN” with molding that “SAMAJAWADI SOCIETY” in the highest learning institutions that produce the future leaders of the country? If they (“Peratugami” & JVP) keep to that slogan and practice “SAMAJAWADI” principles, this menace of “BARBARIC RAGGING” could be completely banished from the Universities and all other seats of higher learning. So, “Peratugami” and “JVP” are you ready to take up that challenge?

  • 3
    0

    Our universities are no longer what they used to be.None of them are even among the top 1000 in the world leave alone the first 200.We must privatize the universities and make them fee levying ,and not be a burden to the state.70 years of free education has brought the country nothing.

    The only thing that has progressively increased (if that’s the right word)is the brutality in ragging !We must start by closing the arts faculties first and then privatise the universities gradually..Having free education,free rice upto 1978 and free medicine has made our people look to the state for everything free of charge.This must stop NOW.

    Then politicians too would loose their grip in being purveyors of all things free ,at state expense,in exchange for the vote.Upto now 71 years have been wasted since independence and loose talk about wanting to be another Singapore ( my foot!)

    • 0
      0

      Lanken At Oxford@.
      .
      You talk about top 1000, their ranks today have fallen to 2000 or beyond.
      :
      But most of the lanken graduates are overestimating their education yet today. Some have the temerity to challenge the degrees offered by european countries. I have been known to few medical specialists in the country, most of the them were against foreign medical degree holders. They themselves had forgotten, that the state funded their graduate studies. The very same is not overlooked by the cruel behaviour of GMOA members these days. I think instead of them being part of Rajaakshe politics, they should learn to deliver their duties properly. Not many of them are reported to be covering their weekly hours as MBBS holders. In a country no law and order is set properly, what more dangerous things could happen ?
      :
      I think whole lot of our people are suffering from inferiority complex, but seen as superiority complex within the country. One ofthe profs known to me from Japan, had visited the country lately for some academic programs, had left the following note on his return to Europe.
      .
      SRILANKENs can achieve their future goals very easily if their mind set would have been away from ” their own psychology”: According to him, average in the country would believe, that they the lankens are the pioneers in many areas even if neigbhouring countries are reported to have achieved lot more during the last 4 decades.Further to this, he said, most of them behave as the frogs restrict to a water well. Our people tend to compare lankens with that of Israelis and others that have made records by their academic and various other fields… for some reasons, but how can they do so etc. I let this go through my head not once several dozens of times, I also feel that we overestimate our nation.

  • 4
    1

    feel very sorry for Shanilka & others who have ended their lives so tragically, as well as, thousands of others who have suffered terribly & been humiliated. This is the result of free education & our flawed higher education system.
    Free education, commendable as it is, has failed in SL by the creation of a few elite schools while others have been neglected, & worse, by trying to correct the wrong by lowering standards, particularly, on University selection, instead of lifting up poorly performing schools. The direct consequence is the creation of a division between ‘Colombo’ schools & others, & the less privileged products of ‘other’, getting their backs on the ‘privileged’. Free education at higher levels is not appreciated, which is plain to see from the attitude & conduct of many professionals, such as, doctors who run the GMOA Mafia & various lethargic State employed officials. These people have benefitted from public funded education but fail to pay their debt to society.
    I was not intelligent enough to be selected to a SL university but was fortunate to attend 2 Universities abroad for my basic Degree & Masters, & in both Universities, it was a great experience, not only academically but also socially, meeting & bonding friendships with many from different countries. University education is no longer free in UK but every person attending Uni is entitled to a student loan to cover the fees, as well as, a modest living expense which has to be repaid in installments only after securing employment, earning more than £25,000 per year. Those from poorer backgrounds are entitled to an outright grant, therefore, nobody has to depend on parents to fund university.
    Universities employ seniors as mentors for freshers, who, on the first day, are there at the gate to direct newcomers to their relevant faculties & thereafter, are at hand every step of the way, providing information & advice.

  • 1
    0

    @Paramie, Were you at the engineering faculty, or another faculty or following NDT? I followed my degree at the engineering faculty and the experience was quite different(Although we had to stick to a first year attire, did not endure any physical or verbal ragging) , don’t know whether things have turned bad over the last 15 years.

    Sorry to hear about your experience, good that you wrote about it even though it must have been hard. Ragging should not be tolerated in any capacity in any institute and we should all raise our voice against it.

    • 0
      0

      Hi Nalin, I studied in the Information Technology faculty in the University of Moratuwa

  • 8
    0

    Cruelty is the right word to describe this horrible thing that is passed off as seniors getting to know freshers.

    I entered Moratuwa in Dec. 1970. Those raggiing6 us had a focus on our genitals. They applied SR Toothpaste which made those parts burn. One moonlit night all of us in the hostel were stripped and made to stand outdoors. We then had to lie flat on the grass and move dragging our genitals on the grass. Then a few of the seniors also stripped and began masturbating and asked to do the same while standing in the middle of the ring they had asked us to form. Then they came around pushing their genitals against ours

    That is fun and getting to know each other? It is an excuse for homosexual rape.

    The saddest is what happened to one of the lightest skinned among us. A fat crude looking senior with a beard from the first batch called Mahanama kept him in his room for all of our first two weeks. The boy was so embarassed that he was pink all the time we saw him being taken about by this man who belongs in jail.

    It is a perod of my life i would like to forget whereas it should have been one of the happiest times if not for ragging.

  • 2
    0

    These rags should be put down firmly by the state to encourage future young intellectuals blossoming in the south.
    Police and/or army should be given the task from the first day after each new batch enrolment. There is no other way.
    There were rags in the old University of Ceylon, but, those were “get-to-know” exercises. We even enjoyed them, and lasting friendships were formed.
    This is sadism.

  • 1
    0

    Being a student at Moratuwa in early 70’s,this is shocking to me. We too faced ragging but it was fun , nothing harmed you phisically or mentally. In fact we enjoyed talking about it after the first week & made good friends with the very same seniors ( some are still friends)
    Has the human values erroded in our students. Has the competitive secondary education system has failed to cultivate the values & respect for mutual emotions.
    Do the rural students envy the urban or the urban do nothing to elevate the
    Less fortunate.
    Where are we going ?

    • 0
      0

      Krish, the human values you mention have been eroded throughout society, from the top to the bottom, in every race and religion. So it is no wonder that there is no humanity among these raggers. Who was it who said’ Remember your humanity and forget the rest’?

  • 1
    4

    Cancers like ‘the ragging’ are hangovers of colonialism. These bastadry acts were introduced by colonials returning from so-called ‘education’ in OX-Bridge universities and our fools who imitate colonial rubbish 1000 times stronger than the Jews themselves took up this criminal nonsense, leading to tragedies like these.=
    \
    We can never escape these rubbishy colonial habits until we adopt our indigenous culture and civilisation that is million times superior to the European rubbish that has given rise to these cancers.
    /
    So get on with nationalising our culture if you want to stop tragedies like these.

  • 3
    0

    We give them “free” education at tax-payers expenses.

    Why should these donkeys worry – if there is NO repercussion!

    Now it’s time to take away these “free” from these ungrateful donkeys and expel them.

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