Only a few months ago, was my social media was flooding with the news of discriminating curfew hours for women in hostels across the country. And now, comes another one originating from the same regressive mentality – India’s premier engineering school just asked its female students to dress in full, covered, decent clothes for an upcoming event on its premises.

Crowd at IIT Delhi’s annual cultural fest – Rendezvous

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The Controversy

According to Hindustan Times, a purported circular has been put up on the notice board of Himadri Hostel, one of the girl’s hostels of Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi. The circular arbitrarily states that all the residents of the hostel are to dress in ‘full covered decent western or Indian dresses’ for the House Day- an annual event where the hostel inmates can invite guests for an hour.

This controversy comes at a time when IIT’s are planning to expand its female intake for upcoming batches. The hostel inmates forwarded the notice to Pinjra Tod, a student’s group that’s been making headlines for countless protests and campaigning against the discrimination of women’s’ hostel curfew timings.

The Response of the Authorities

As soon as the news reached Pinjra Tod, it went viral. Following the outrage of students, the Dean of the Students’ Welfare-IIT Delhi, S Krishna was asked about the incident to which he denied having any knowledge of the circular. He further added,

We normally don’t issue notices regarding what type of dress they should wear. In fact, I was not even aware that such a notice has been put up. I have instructed my office to call the hostel and tell the staff that it should be immediately removed. We don’t indulge in the personal affairs of students– either boys or girls– and we don’t have a dress code too

Upadhyayula, the warden under whom the circular was issued also backed off from claiming the notice. Pretty convenient, yeah?

My Questions to the Society

So now, the question arises,

Why does India feel the need to rob its women of its basic rights to make them feel protected? Why are we continuously moving towards a society where the security of the women solely relies on the conduct of the women?

The subtle way through which even our most eminent of the eminent education institutions are fuelling patriarchy is nothing but appalling. Every day I drop my 16-year-old sister at her school. I see tons of kids playing in the courtyard with boys dressed in a blue colored half-sleeved shirt and pants and the girls in a pale bluish colored, loose and full sleeved Patiala suit.

And, the question pops again. Why did my school changed the girls’ dress code from a white skirt and shirt to a pale blue ‘fully covered’ Patiala suit?

I guess we all know the answer to this one. As long as this regressive mentality propagates through our mindsets, we can’t save our women. Prohibiting women’s clothing or curfew timings isn’t going to change a thing.

It’s only going to serve more liberties to the offenders.

It’s only going to ascend the fear.

Maybe it’s about time we turn this thing around because lord knows we absolutely need to!


Image Credits: Google Images

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