Published: 24th October 2019
Mumbai University goes desi, faculty to wear Shivaji's robe and Nana's red topi for convocation
A poly-khadi material will be used to make the costumes for comfort and to maintain a 'swadeshi' touch to the attire. The fabric for the robe will be purchased from small-scale khadi gram industries
Following in the footsteps of several IITs, a few IIMs and some other Indian institutes who have adopted traditional Indian dresses for their official convocation dress code, Mumbai University announced Shivkalin angrakha — an upper garment worn by Maratha warrior Shivaji Bhonsle — and red headgear, similar to the one donned by Bombay philanthropist Nana Shunker Sheth, as the official dress to be worn by the 100-plus faculty. The university stuck to kurta pyiama and sari or salwar kameez for the students. The announcement came the same day UGC prescribed khadi as the dress code for convocations as it will bring "a sense of pride of being Indian".
The committee has recommended the use of poly-khadi material for comfort and to give a 'swadeshi' touch to the attire. The fabric for the robe will be purchased from small-scale khadi gram industries. The Nana topi was included to further the cause of education and philanthropy. Shankarseth was an educationist and a social reformer, reported The Times of India.
University sources said that the decision to change the dress code was taken in September. The angrakha will be bordered with a traditional Paithani weave, said the university. The male graduating students can wear sadara pyjamas, and female students can wear a sari or salwar kameez accompanied by a sash. Most recommendations by a three-member committee, led by M D Teli, professor from fibres and textile processing technology department at ICT-Matunga, Armaiti Shukla, from textile science and apparel design department at SNDT's SVT College of Home Science, and designer Archana Rao, were approved by the university's management council. The university-appointed committee had recommended a maroon 'topi to match with dignitaries, but the management council members refused to implement that at a meeting on Wednesday.
Colleges affiliated to the university though have been given a chance to either choose their own attire for the graduation ceremonies or switch to the university's pattern in subsequent years, a university official added. A former dean said the directive to make use of India's traditional attire and the fabric had come from University Grants Commission (UGC). "Most of our education system's concept has been derived from the British, so our convocation attire was heavily influenced by their culture. The use of 'professor' for teachers was also borrowed from their education system. The government believes in making everything desi. This is a move in that direction. Whether it will be comfortable for use will have to be seen once the convocation is held," the professor told TOI.
"The proposed convocation attire is a mix of our culture, tradition, and inclusiveness," said Vice-Chancellor Suhas Pednekar. Pradeep Sawant, a management council member, said Shankarseth had contributed a lot to the state's education system, so most members were convinced with the proposed attire. The committee went through several trends in use by other universities and IITs before finalising the attire. The use of local fabric from Maharashtra, such as Paithani and Himroo fabric, were considered. Different shades of poly-khadi will be used for officials of different categories. The delegation includes the chief guest, vice-chancellor, pro-vice-chancellor and senate members.