Published: 28th February 2020
Once you go black, you can't go back in: IIT Madras forbids students from wearing black for Venkaiah Naidu event
Some students believe that the implementation of this rule could have connection to the fact that there had been protests in Pondicherry University where Naidu has visited a few days ago
The Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IIT-M) has issued various instructions to the students regarding the visit of the Vice President of India, Venkaiah Naidu on Saturday — but the one that has got student groups on campus going is the restriction on wearing anything black in colour. It is only routine that when a dignitary of such high stature is visiting any place, the visitors and organisers always have to follow certain rules to ensure that there are no security lapses during the dignitary's visit. So anything that poses a threat is eliminated, including the colour 'black' at least at Saturday's event. Naidu will be addressing the IIT community on the topic - India 2020 to 2030: Gen Y's vision for the decade.
Some of the instructions that the institute has issued include banning any video recording or photography at the venue, no electronic equipment or gadgets are allowed, no carry bags either. The students are also required to carry their ID cards for security checks and last but not least, the students are not allowed to wear black shirts or tops.
The Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle said on Facebook that they believe that this rule could have connection to the fact that there had been protests in Pondicherry University, "Ahead of the Vice President's visit, afraid of protest in Pondicherry University where police detained students for more than 20 hrs...in IIT Madras they banned black shirts/tops." Naidu had presided over Pondicherry University's convocation on February 26 amid heavy students protests against the fee hike imposed on them.
Students felt that perhaps the institute was worried that protests could erupt in IIT Madras as well. Some other students felt it could be because they had held a 'black shirt' protest regarding the shut down of the Krishna Gate that has hogged the headlines over the last few weeks. "There was a protest against closure of one of the hostel gates about two months ago. They must be anticipating something this time as well," a student said. Black is often a colour that protesters in the state wear, something that was popularied by Periyar.
However, sources say that this might not be a rule that the institute had come up with on its own and that anybody meeting Naidu was required to not wear black — for the past few years, police have kept out visitors at events who have worn black to events where VIPs are in attendance.
We have reached out to the institute for a comment and will update this copy with the same. But till then, our condolences to the colour black.