Mumbai University students or Emperor Akbar? Twitter LOLs at new convocation outfit

The University has decided to do away with the traditional black robes

The twitterati have erupted in laughs and disdain over Mumbai University’s new convocation outfit. In a proposal, apparently passed unanimously in September, the University decided to do away with the colonial tradition of black robes and replace it with an Indian outfit.

Obviously, netizens were not enthused and this is what followed.

Degrees to go Indian too?

What about the girls?

Ritual or Convocation?

Cap or Helmet?

While most of the students have expressed disappointment over the outfit, some of them (no points for guessing who) have hailed this move as a positive one to restore Indian culture in the student fraternity.

Deputy Registrar and MU PRO LeeladharBansod said, “In case of convocation attire, we have received feedback that it is uncomfortable. The committee will take three major parameters — Indian culture, quality and comfort — into consideration while designing the attire.”

Ultra-nationalism creeping in
Several universities across India are slowly replacing colonial-era ‘western’ robes with traditional Indian clothes for convocation ceremonies following a central directive, The Times of India reported.

SavitribaiPhule Pune University (SPPU) switched to Indian wear – sarees and salwar-kameez for girls and kurta-pyjama for boys, a few years ago. Several state governments have made Indian wear mandatory for convocation ceremonies.

In June, the University Grants Commission issued a circular emphasizing, “the use of ceremonial robes made of handloom fabric which will not only add to the country’s pride, but also be more comfortable in the hot and humid weather.”

Former human resource development (HRD) minister PrakashJavadekar had last year urged all universities across the country to replace “British-inspired” convocation attire with traditional Indian clothes as a tribute to Mahatma Gandhi.

Students have cried foul over the Indianisation of the graduation ceremony in a bid to ‘culturally police’ the students.

Convocation ceremonies were only followed by esteemed colleges years ago. Today, it is a ceremony that has been adopted by most colleges across the country for the sense of pride it instils in the students. Walking down in identical robes and tossing their caps in the air has today become a symbol of achievement and elation for students across the country. 

Yes, encouraging the handloom industry is a good move, but only if done for the right reasons. Imposing culture and Indian-ness is not the way to go. After all, will the students be happy to toss the large maroon headgear on the day of the convocation?

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