UK chief minister against gowns for convocations

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Dehradun: Should Uttarakhand chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat have his way, the traditional gowns that the staff, chief guests and passing out students wear at the convocations of Universities, will become a thing of the past. He not only refused to wears the traditional gown at the 15th Convocation of the University of Petroleum and Energy Studies here yesterday, but even asked the University authorities to think of some Indian dress for such functions in the future.

Asserting that the gowns were reminiscent of the colonial days and the British power, he said that once such an Indian dress had been designed for convocations, he would ensure that all the Universities in this small hill state would adhere to it and the practice of wearing gowns would be done away with, though he hastened to add that he had nothing personal against it but the fact that it smacked of the days of the empire.

Despite the fact that all the dignitaries on the dais including union minister Prakash Javadekar, Uttarakhand governor K K Paul and his cabinet olleague state education minister Dhan Singh Rawat all wore the traditional gowns, the chief minister refused to wear one and he was the only odd man out who was without a gown and used the occasion to impress upon the need for an Indian dress.

In his address to the gathering, including the large student community, Rawat said that the gowns being worn traditionally at the convocation were foreign and there was an urgent need to come up with some thing Indian for the occasion. “Once it is done, all Universities of the state will abide by the Indian dress at their convocations and I will also take up the issue with the centre that it should be adopted nationally”, he added.

Incidentally, while none on the dais picked up cudgels on the issue, the large student gathering applauded the chief minister on his suggestion of doing away with the traditional convocation gowns as they were foreign in character and have something more Indian for the occasion.

A journalist with over 40 years of experience, Jagdish Bhatt is Editor Hill Post (Uttarakhand).

Jagdish has worked with India’s leading English dailies, which include Times of India, Indian Express, Pioneer and several other reputed publications.

A highly acclaimed journalist, Jagdish is a recipient of many awards, latest being the 2011 Development Journalism Award.

He lives in Dehra Dun.

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