The supposed dress code given by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur in their convocation 2023 had led to debates and furor among students, faculty and even alumni.
Students felt that the dress code was imposing on their “personal freedom and choice” and called out the institute for this with even some groups deciding to boycott the event.
What Is The Dress Code Controversy With IIT Kharagpur?
A user on X/Twitter was among the first to bring it to attention writing “The Indian Institute of Tantra-mantralogy has a dress-code for convocation. And now one wonders why IITs are declining in prestige” and attaching a picture of the dress code notice.
For boys, the uniform was divided among sections with Top Wear stating “Full-sleeved, knee-length, plain, solid white, cotton kurta with band collar (mandarin collar) and straight hem. Pair the kurta with a white vest as an undershirt” while the Bottom wear wrote “White, fitted cotton churidaar or payjama.”
For footwear, it specified “Brown close-toed Indian juti or kolhapuri chappal” and for accessories “Wrist watches are allowed. Jewellery, if worn, should be restricted to a simple neck chain, kada, small ear studs, and finger rings.”
For the girl’s uniform, the clothing specified was “Plain, solid white, cotton saree, with plain, narrow, golden zari border, and plain pallu. Saree to be worn in the Parsi style, with pleated pallu.
Pair the saree with a white petticoat. Plain, solid white, cotton blouse with sleeves (sleeveless blouses and latkans are not allowed).”
Shoes given for girls were “Brown close-toed Indian juti or kolhapuri chappal” and for accessories “Wrist watches are allowed. Jewellery, if worn, should be restricted to a simple neck chain, two simple bangles or wristlets, ear studs or earrings (danglers not allowed), and finger rings.”
The notice also gave some images as a sample for what would be appropriate.
Apparently, the dress code started heated debates among students and others where some felt this was hindering their choice and freedom of expression.
Reports also claimed that some students, along with a few members of the LGBTQ+ community were planning to boycott the convocation as a form of protest against the notice issued.
Prasanta Ray, the emeritus professor of Sociology of Presidency University said to TOI “Since all students are not from the same social and financial background, these diktats often lead to an inferiority complex.”
An IIT-KGP research scholar speaking with TOI said that “Last year, the students had to wear white or off-white kurta pyjama or sarees for convocation. But this year, the specifications are more elaborate, which has caused trouble for many.”
A senior IIT official though tried to explain the mail saying “There have always been instructions on dress code. The specifications are there so that students dress according to the occasion.”
However, after the backlash from students over the notice, IIT Kharagpur put out an official statement on Monday clarifying that the mail was only meant to be guidelines for the students and not actually mandatory.
They wrote “The mail that was issued to the students regarding the convocation attire was mentioned explicitly due to the theme of the 69th Convocation.
It is just a guideline for the students so that it becomes easier for them to comprehend and look the part on their special day…and does not fall under mandatory requisites.”
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Feature image designed by Saudamini Seth
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