Call Me “Sir”

Disclaimer: ManipalBlog Mangalore does not condone Ragging in any form. Ragging is an Offence. If at any time your interactions with your seniors is getting beyond your comfort zone, tell them so. If they persist please complain to the anti-ragging squad in your college. 


It’s around that time of the year again when batches move a notch up and new juniors come in to fill up the vacated slots. Having attended the orientation program held for KMC students of the 2013 batch, and having been joined in our main campus by the 2012 batch juniors, spurned up a lot of mixed feelings and emotions.

The first emotion and thought that came to mind was, “Gosh, time sure is flying…” It seems just like yesterday we were the junior most batch joining MBBS first year with our clean white aprons and fresh books; then there we were joining the lighthouse campus lot as the 3rd semester juniors fresh from anatomy, physiology and biochemistry…and here we are today, not just one but two batches senior. Definitely, the progress feels good, but the realization at how fast time is going is a revelation.

Coming to the second emotion and feeling, the topic of my article for this week, is the whole system and concept of ragging. I know it’s a taboo topic to be spoken about or written about, but my column does state the truth that is not spoken, so here goes.:p

As a foreign student, I was actually new to the entire system of ragging as this system seems to dominate in India mainly, as I have not experienced anything of the sort outside. But then again, I began university in India so who knows? Again, as a foreigner, I was not made to bear the complete brunt of this, but did allow it to some level. Why so? I’ll get to it…

When a person, be it parent, student, junior or senior first hears the word, a negative picture is created in the mind of bullying personalities and the forcing of authority; but I beg to differ. Yes, it is true that there are numerous heartless people who take this concept to another level, one that is reflected in their shallow natures and inter personal problems, but I believe ragging in itself or the way I’ve  experienced, seen and know of it isn’t entirely a bad thing. The problem with some cruel and evil souls is they take a fun ice breaking concept and cause malice and mayhem and torture leading to tragic consequences inclusive in some states to suicides and deaths too. But if exercised under control and care and in a fun way, it really is not such a intensely negative concept. Yes, I sound stupid speaking that way about something that falls under a criminal offense, I know, but here’s my opinion.

Based on experience and from what I have seen so far, the shallow and low level of ragging in the form of teasing, joking, verbal demands and the like actually aids in breaking the ice between the seniors and juniors and it is often noticed that within a month or so, the juniors who actually get ragged most become close and in fact very good friends with the seniors. The intense stories that are heard about from elsewhere inclusive of stripping naked and being dumped in dumpsters and the like has long been abolished, especially in our setting; but the playful verbal introduction seeking or displaying of talent in the form of mimicry or music tends to be healthy at times. Juniors later tend to be helped and assisted and even gain an amount of respect and adoration from the particular seniors. So, like I said, it’s not always a bad thing. I mean who has not heard of the saying, no pain without gain?

Another important concept I found difficult to adjust to initially when I joined was the apparent requirement to call the seniors ‘sir’ and ‘ma’am’. But over the time I spent acquainting myself here, I realized that it’s actually not as I thought it would be. Because I realized that as I got to know more seniors and got acquainted to them, I immediately adopted the habit of using the term ‘sir’ and ‘ma’am’, for some as an addition after their names. I mean after all, they were levels higher than me in the filed we were pursuing and had been through what I was currently struggling with, I felt they did deserve some respect. Of course, the ones who authoritatively forced it or actually wanted authority and respect by means of threat were eventually the ones I found myself not respecting at all. I mean after all, respect is earned and not demanded.

And all the “ragging” I’ve been through is naught but a rite of passage. Not into the hostel or the like. Rather into the profession. Everything we’re required to do has a lesson that hides behind it. We call our seniors “Sir” or “Ma’am” not to feed their ego, but to drill into our thick skulls that the chain of command is not one to be broken. I never liked wearing formals. Period. But what patient would consent to be examined by a kid in ripped jeans and a cap? We were taught the importance of setting our cravings aside when we needed to sober up for work. To test if we could do it. To force us to. Don’t get me wrong here. Ragging is an OFFENCE. But what I was put through was exactly what it’s called- Personality Development. I needed to be sharpened around the edges and dulled down here and there. In the end, every day in fact, I thank my seniors for every minute of it. It was free education into what a student needs to be before he learns how to be a doctor.

Anyway, all in all, in the end, I believe this system has its pro’s and it’s cons and of course is dependent on different individuals and settings, but to the juniors, I believe that if you actually enjoy it and get past it, instead of countering or showing attitude, it aids in building relations better with seniors and helps get you acquainted to the system, since fighting against a culture and tradition of many years is not an easy battle; and as for the seniors, I believe likewise undertaking this tradition in a humanely fashion and having fun, and not making it a torture like activity will aid in the gaining of respect from juniors naturally rather than an authoritative demand for respect which actually leads to retaliation and disrespect.

PS: A reminder again that Manipalblog Mangalore has no affiliation with KMC or Manipal University in any way and is an individual organization in itself. Any opinions and views expressed here are not related to the University or college regulations or views. Thank you.

You are welcome to forward any comments, criticism, opinions or queries to [email protected] or [email protected].

Till then, Call me Apuesto Sir…:p :p



Disclaimer: ManipalBlog Mangalore does not condone Ragging in any form. Ragging is an Offence. If at any time your interactions with your seniors is getting beyond your comfort zone, tell them so. If they persist please complain to the anti-ragging squad in your college. 

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