Tuesday 27 February 2018

Uttarakhand version of University convocation ceremony Cap, Robe... Not a Great Idea!

Written by Anil Singh

convocation ceremony, Trivendra Singh Rawat, uttarakhand universities, too colonila convocation dress, british raj robe
You might have read the article where I said it is not a very attractive idea of having a Uniquely Indian or uniquely Uttarakhandi attire for University convocation ceremonies in the state (for event such as awarding degrees, other felicitations, formal events etc.).

Traditionally, a long robe and a peculiar headgear with a square top, mimicking a book on top, is worn in such convocation ceremonies. The attire is well recognized all over the World and the moment someone sees a photograph of someone with the robe and the headgear, he instantly makes the judgement that the person has some higher education (See Pic).

The present Uttarakhand CM Mr. Trivendra Singh Rawat for some reasons found the University convocation attire too "Colonial" and hence he ordered a new one to be designed for such events.

Now it is being reported that the new designs are: A traditional pahari topi (a Black Topi or form-wise it is Gandhi Topi in Black color), kurta pyjama and hand-woven shawls. For women it will be Saree instead of Kurta Pyjama.

Notably, the central universities too have given up the black gown-cap dress code for the convocation ceremonies and replaced them with kurta dhoti/ kurta pyajama for men and saris for women.

Indian version of everything, including Indian or Uttarakhand version of convocation ceremony Cap and Robe, may not be a great idea

At a time when the Government of India is telling its young men and women to get employment in US, UK and anyplace abroad, then the desire to have Indian version of University convocation attire does not seem to be a great idea.

Simple logic says that if you want to get in an alien country's work force purely on your academic and professional skills, then you must use symbols which are easily recognized globally.

An attire unique to a country may give a person a sense of confidence in one's culture, but it may not convey the unsaid message of her/his academic merit to the World. It will invite unnecessary questions for sure. People not familiar with the country may find it weird as well.

To conclude, there is a reason why countries stick to traditions and attires which sometimes are different from them. The reason for doing so is: familiarity. Some symbols have become so global that there is no need to change them. If a country or a State chooses to get a more familiar or comfortable version of everything, then it only distances itself from the World.

The Indian version or the Uttarakhand version of a Robe and a headgear for University convocation ceremonies seems to be like one. It seems simply unnecessary.

It will be good, if the Government(s) returns to the globally known long robe and peculiar headgear. If it still wants to have its own unique attire, then for God's sake don't remove the Book like piece from top of the headgear!


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