"Dress code shouldn't come in way of education": Students of Mumbai college where hijab, T-shirt, jeans ban imposed

"Implementation of dress code invites anger of students and unnecessary politicisation of the issue," says Nitin Dalvi, an education activist
Visuals from outside the college
Visuals from outside the college(Pic: Sourced)

After the ban on the niqab, hijab and burqa which was upheld by Bombay High Court on June 26, comes another ban for students of the Chembur Trombay Education Society's NG Acharya and DK Marathe College, Mumbai. 

A notice dated June 27 came into effect this week, starting July 1, stating clearly that students cannot wear any dress which depicts religion or any cultural disparity. Nakab, hijab, burkha, stole, cap, badge and so on "shall be removed by going to common rooms on the ground floor" and then, they can move around the campus. "Torn jeans, T-shirts, Revealing dresses and Jerseys not allowed", notified the college. 

A swarm of students were spotted outside the gate on both days as they were not permitted to enter because what they wore did not adhere to the dress code.

Students speak up

"In my opinion, if what we are wearing is not revealing or transparent, and is worn properly, it should be fine," shares a student on the condition of anonymity. She also states that the dress code shouldn't be the highlight of the college, education should be. 

Talking about the financial burden that comes with purchasing a new set of clothes, the students asks how can they afford such formal clothes. 

Expert's take

"A dress code directly affects the individuality and freedom of a student," says Nitin Dalvi, an education activist, and calls it "moral policing". He says that the focus should be on education, rather than a dress code. 

"Implementation of dress code invites anger of students and unnecessary politicisation of the issue," he poignantly points out.    

"We are just students"

Sameer Chaudhry, a third-year BCom student from the college, says that there is nothing religious about wearing T-shirts and jeans. 

"We just want to study at the college. We are living in Mumbai and these rules make no sense to us," says Chaudhry and adds that due to the stringent application of the dress code, only 20 to 30 students are attending a class of 120-130 students. 

"I missed out on a lecture yesterday (July 2), we had a practical class. During practicals, initially, we could remove our niqab and use stoles or scarves. But now, we are not being allowed even that. After practicals, we were told that we need to remove our niqab and only then we can sit in the class," says the anguished student.

"We respect the college and our management. But they need to understand our opinions and choices as well. Wearing hijab or niqab doesn't make a college unpopular. All we request the management to do is to hear our opinion sincerely and consider it," shares the student.

"We are students, we really want to study. A dress code cannot come in the way," she shares and concludes.  

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