The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Netarhat trashes ragging charge

Ranchi, June 11: No fresher has ever left Netarhat Public School due to ragging, asserted school authorities on Monday following media reports to this effect.

The student in question, said principal B.K. Karn, left in April complaining of home-sickness and after not being able to adjust with school traditions that require students to clean rooms, toilets, fetch water and wash clothes.

Ever since the residential school was set up over 50 years ago, he said, students in hostels, which are called ashrams at Netarhat, have been trained to become self-sufficient and learn the dignity of labour.

But the son of a college professor from Dumka, said the authorities, found it difficult to follow. His parents, too, objected to the practice and complained that students should not be made to “waste” their time in such chores. Finally, the student left for home in April and never returned.

The charge that he left because of ragging is both unfounded and mischievous, said the principal over the phone. It is once again a tradition at Netarhat that a room is shared by students from different classes and a senior student is designated as the mentor for the freshers. In this case, the mentor, a Class X student, had merely insisted that the fresher must follow the tradition, the principal said.

The boy, claimed other teachers, had never done any work at home. Pampered and fussed, he found it difficult to adjust to the austere and spartan lifestyle encouraged by the school, set up by the Bihar government in the fifties and which is now under the control of the Jharkhand government.

“He hardly lived here for two months during which his parents visited him several times. Once his parents even questioned the tradition as they believed students should come to school only for studies,”said the principal, adding, “but this is a residential school with unique traditions.” Earlier batches, he said, faced greater hardship with water and electricity supplies being erratic.

Confirming the tradition, an IAS officer and the state’s HRD secretary J.B. Tubid, himself a former “Haatian” as Netarhat old-boys are known, said he is proud of being a “Haatian” and that he recalls washing even others’ utensils and clothes when the latter fell ill.

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