When we put a lot of energy into a task, we tend to overvalue the outcome. As a result, we become attached to things that we invest effort in creating. It’s a very dangerous behavioural bias because it lets us fool ourselves.
In July 1999, I entered my engineering college campus for the first time with a lot of excitement and a bit of trepidation too. I was excited about my new-found freedom. At the same time, I was scared to death about the college ragging. For those who don’t know, ragging in India is a damaging form of interaction of the seniors in college or school with the juniors, new entrants or first years. I had heard nasty ragging stories from my seniors.
Fortunately, the college administration had recently adopted very strict policies to stop ragging. All the freshers were put in a different hostel so there was no direct interaction among first year and senior year students. The strange thing about ragging is that once the new guy goes through it, he experiences a change of heart and starts feeling that ragging is justified. Obviously, the senior students didn’t like the idea of banning the ragging. When I asked some of my seniors about their rationale for ragging, they explained that ragging was a great way for new students to open up to seniors. They argued that it increased the solidarity in the student community.
Ragging isn’t something unique in Indian colleges. In western countries, it’s known as ‘hazing’ and practiced in form of initiation rites for student fraternities. Wikipedia defines hazing as the practice of rituals, challenges, and other activities involving harassment, abuse or humiliation used as a way of initiating a person into a group including a new fraternity, sorority, team, or club.
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