Indian governor orders universities to scrap 'European' graduation gowns

BJP's Ram Naik calls on institutions to 'inculcate folk culture' in ceremonies amid concerns over rising Hindu nationalism

November 3, 2015
BTech students of IIT Patna graduate 2015
BTech students of the Indian Institute of Technology, Patna, graduate in 2015

A governor from India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has told universities in his state to ditch graduation ceremony caps and gowns and replace them with attire that has an “Indian essence”.

Ram Naik has written to all state universities in Uttar Pradesh calling on them to “inculcate folk culture in the convocation dress”, according to the Times of India.

Critics have accused the BJP of trying to push Hindu ideas in the education system since winning power last year.

Universities should do away with "European graduate gown culture", Mr Naik told the newspaper. "Universities have been asked to lay emphasis on creating a dress code with an Indian essence,” he said.

He added that he approved of the khadi stoles – a kind of traditional shawl – worn by graduates at Ambedkar University.

“A letter has been sent to all the state universities to do away with the black gown and introduce Indian attire,” Mr Naik said.

“It has been left to the discretion of v-cs of the universities about what they want the students to wear, but it should depict Indian culture. Institutions have also been asked to inculcate folk culture in the convocation dress if they have any regional speciality."

But he was accused of wanted to “saffronize” Indian universities – make them more culturally Hindu – by Amit Singh, president of the National Student Union of India’s Agra unit.

"Everyone wants to wear a black gown. It is the dream of every student to raise the cap in the air after receiving the medal. Are we not using the rail tracks made by the British? Are we not using the highways and roads made by them? Then why do away with the gown?,” he added.

david.matthews@tesglobal.com

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

Worried man wiping forehead
Two academics explain how to beat some of the typical anxieties associated with a doctoral degree

Felipe Fernández-Armesto takes issue with a claim that the EU has been playing the sovereignty card in Brexit negotiations

Man throwing axes

UCU attacks plans to cut 171 posts, but university denies Brexit 'the reason'

Kenny Dalglish

Agnes Bäker and Amanda Goodall have found that academics who are happiest at work have a head of department who is a distinguished researcher. How can such people be encouraged into management?

A group of flamingos and a Marabou stork

A right-wing philosopher in Texas tells John Gill how a minority of students can shut down debates and intimidate lecturers – and why he backs Trump