Saffron Scarves at Convocation Shared With False Religious Context
The scarves were colour-coded according to the different departments at the Uttaranchal University.
An image of students of Uttaranchal University has gone viral with the misleading claim that the university replaced the black coat and gown worn during convocation with saffron scarves and kurtas, in line with the ‘sanatan dharma’.
We found that the convocation took place in February 2020, wherein the students wore traditional outfits as prescribed by the state government. Moreover, the scarves were colour-coded according to the different departments at the university and had nothing to do with religion.
The image was shared by several users with the claim,
“उतंराचल युनीवर्स्टी, उत्तराखन्ड ने अंग्रेजों के जमाने से चली आ रही परम्परा को खत्म करते हुये दीक्षांत समारोह मे इस वर्ष काले कोट और काले टोप की जगह सभी स्टुडेन्ट को भगवा पहनाकर डिग्री प्रदान की उम्मीद है,इस परंपरा का पालन ज्यादा से ज्यादा हो. सनातन धर्म सर्वश्रेष्ठ है”
(Translation: “Uttaranchal University, Uttarakhand gave degrees to all the students wearing saffron in place of black coats and black caps this year in the convocation ceremony, ending the British era. Hopefully, follow this tradition is followed more and more. Sanatan dharma is best (sic)“)
The Quint also received multiple queries regarding this on its WhatsApp helpline.
WHAT WE FOUND OUT
Uttaranchal University had its first convocation on 29 February 2020.
“The programme was organised in a typical Indian tradition and attire,” read a press note on the university’s website.
We contacted the Uttaranchal University and found that the students were dressed in traditional attire as prescribed by the state government and the scarves were colour-coded according to different departments.
We also came across several photographs in which students were wearing red and blue coloured scarves, instead of just orange.
In June 2017, the Uttarakhand government had announced that convocation gowns would not be allowed in the state, after the then Chief Minister Trivendra Rawat had refused to wear the traditional robe at Dehradun-based University of Petroleum and Energy Studies’ convocation.
The Times of India had reported in November 2017, that the state’s Higher Education Minister Dhan Singh Rawat said that a traditional dress would be finalised and graduating students will wear dresses in ‘pahadi-style and colours.’
WAS THIS THE FIRST INCIDENT?
Students have been wearing traditional attire for the convocation ceremony for several years now.
In August 2011, IIT Bombay had mandated that the graduating students wear traditional Indian attire with an ‘uttaria’ instead of the gown.
Gujarat Technological University had also set a tradition of ethnic attire on its first convocation ceremony in 2011.
In April 2010, then Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh had objected to the convocation gown, calling it a ‘barbaric colonial relic’, and had stripped it off at the Indian Institute of Forest Management.
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