The University Grants Commission (UGC) has prescribed Khadi as dress code for the convocations and other ceremonial events in the universities and colleges, saying it will bring “a sense of pride of being Indian.”
In its latest circular to the vice-chancellors of all 903 universities, the higher education regulator has also asked them to consider “encouraging” students and teachers to wear dresses made of “other handloom fabrics” for the special events organised in the campus.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi has advocated the use of Khadi and also emphasised the revival of handlooms. Mahatma Gandhi used Khadi, a hand-spun and handloom cloth as a weapon during struggle for Indian Independence and hence, it is also known as 'Liveries of Freedom',” UGC secretary Rajnish Jain noted in the circular.
The Commission also directed vice-chancellors to pass on its advisory on the use of Khadi and other handloom fabrics to the colleges affiliated to their universities.
The UGC's renewed effort to replace the use of the western convocation robe with Khadi and handloom fabric, depicting Indian culture, comes about four years after it directed all universities to ensure that dresses made of “handloom fabric only” was worn by the students and teachers on special occasions like convocation.
The commission had prescribed the dress code for convocations and other special occasions in July 2015, following Prime Minister Narendra Modi's call for working towards welfare of handloom weavers.
While most central universities and other higher education institutions funded by the central government have phased out western convocation robes, introducing traditional 'Kurta-Pyjama' for men and 'Saari' for women for special occasions, western the robe is still a convocation attire for a number of universities and colleges.