UP varsity topper refuses to wear traditional gown, removed from convocation venue

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SummarySSV Vice-chancellor Prof Binda Prasad Mishra, however, dismissed the episode as a "stunt".

A student of the Sampurnanand Sanskrit Vishwavidyalaya (SSV), who was to be awarded nine gold medals and a silver medal for his meritorious performance, refused to wear the traditional gown at the university’s 31st convocation in Varanasi Thursday.

The student said the gown was a colonial relic and there was no place for such a dress code in an independent country.

The university officials first tried to convince Suman Chandra Pant, a Sahityacharya (equivalent to MA in literature), failing which he was ousted by the administration officials from the convocation venue, where Governor B L Joshi was awarding medals in the presence of the chief guest, former Supreme Court Judge Justice M K Sharma.

SSV Vice-chancellor Prof Binda Prasad Mishra, however, dismissed the episode as a “stunt”.

“As the guests took to the stage, Pant refused to wear the gown. A few other students joined him and insisted on wearing dhoti, kurta and jacket. However, as per rules, this could not have been allowed. Many senior university officials tried to persuade them but to no avail. Subsequently, they were removed from the convocation pandal,” said a university official.

The official added that Pant’s refusal came late in the day and nothing could be changed then.

Talking to The Indian Express from Lucknow, where he is now pursuing a Ph. D from Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan, Pant said: “The issue was not raised suddenly. In July, a researcher, Umesh Chandra Shukla, who too was among those who refused to wear the gown, had written to the Governor, who is the Chancellor of the University, on the issue. But no decision was taken. When I came to know about the convocation on November 20, I wrote to Raj Bhavan. I wanted a special permission should at least be granted to me for wearing dhoti, kurta and jacket. But the university was not interested.”

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