Graduating students at Ranchi University (RU) are in the midst of a pitched fight between authorities and the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) over what pupils should be asked to wear at the convocation ceremony on July 5. The ABVP – the youth wing of the RSS – has demanded dhoti-kurta for boys and saree for girls as the dress code for the ceremony, saying the traditional gowns are a British cultural import and should be discontinued. But the varsity administration has made it mandatory for all student stoweara gown during the ceremony.
“We will stage a mass protest against the use of gowns on the day of convocation and halt the proceedings. India has been free for over 60 years now, but the varsity wants us to follow British culture, which is unacceptable,” said Atal Pandey, Ranchi convener, ABVP. This is the latest in a series of campus unrests across India this year. Students clashed with police at Delhi’s JNU and the University of Hyderabad earlier this year over controversies ons edition and ca ste discrimination, respectively.
In March this year, the ABVP threatened to protest against a lecture by former JNU professor MN Pa nini at the Central University of Jharkhand (CUJ), accusing him of having mentored the‘ anti-national’ movement in JNU. The students union also reportedly played a role in suspension of CUJ professor Shreya Bhattacharji who had invited Panini to address a gathering at the Ranchi-based university.
The fresh controversy may play a crucial role in the RU students’ elections likely this year, say students. The ABVP claims to have handed over at least three memorandums to the vice-chancellor demanding for the dhoti-saree dress code. But the administration has denied their request. “It will be mandatory for all students getting degrees on this convocation day to wear a gown, otherwise they won’ t get their degrees on that day ,” said RU vice-chancellor, Ramesh Pandey. Hesaid the varsity had set rules for conducting convocation ceremonies and changes could not be made in such short notice even if it wanted to.