The campus of University of Hyderabad (UoH) is witnessing tension once again as students are protesting against the administration's imposition of the new dress code for the 17th convocation scheduled to be held on Thursday.
The row over the dress code began last week after the university circulated a mail to all the graduating students to wear only clothes made from Khadi for the convocation ceremony.
"As per the advisory received by the government of India to promote Handloom/Khadi cloth, the University of Hyderabad has decided to do away with the gown system that was prevalent earlier," the mail states, while adding that men had to wear a 'Kurta Pyjama' or 'Kurta Dhoti' while the woman had to wear a 'Saree' or 'Salwar Kameez.'
However, students have come out in protest against this move.
"University of Hyderabad is under constant attack from the state apparatus ruled by the fascist regime. We see this attack in continuation to the introduction of police patrolling inside campus, release of UGC safety guidelines circular, issue of new Hostel code of conduct which implies legal consequences and currently the e-mail imposing the brahminical and patriarchal dress code of conduct. We will not fall a prey to the saffron agenda of the stooge backed by the center," the students said in a press release.
The university campus had been in turmoil earlier, as students demanded the resignation of R P Sharma, who was the incharge vice-chancellor since May this year.
Following weeks of protests, sit-ins and total boycott of classes by students and teachers of the university, a faculty member Appa Rao Pondile was appointed as the new vice-chancellor of the varsity for the next five years.
The advisory for the dress code, was issued by the University Grants Commission (UGC) on July 15 this year, and stated that "using ceremonial robes made out of handloom fabrics would not only give a sense of pride of being Indian but also be more comfortable in the hot and humid weather."
Ravindra Nath, the dean, development and UGC affairs in Osmania University, told the Times of India that "It's a guideline issued by the UGC which may not necessarily be imposed on the students. An internal committee in each university has the power to discuss the guidelines and decide over the course of action."
Also, an 'Angavastram,' which is a piece of cloth worn around the neck, with the UoH logo and `XVII convocation' printed on it can be rented by the students for Rs 200, the report adds.
“If you are from my part of the country, you probably don’t know what an angavastram is. Every culture and every ethnic wear must be celebrated," an assistant professor told Hindustan Times, while adding that even his Naga traditional wear was a handloom product.
Many student unions are expected to protest against the move and there have even been calls to boycott the event.