For AMU students, wearing sherwani no issue

FPStudents come out of vice-chancellor’s office Friday. PRAVEEN KHANNA

The first Friday after vice-chancellor Zameer Uddin Shah advised students to wear sherwani to Aligarh Muslim University, about 15 per cent of them turned up dressed in the traditional attire of the institution.

And proudly too. "It's a political attire for us. Pandit Nehru wore it. Our former vice-chancellor who is now vice-president of the country wears it all the time," says acting president of AMU Students Union Taushif Alam.

Though Shah's suggestion, made in a April 26 letter, to students to wear sherwani Fridays and that all students "who wish to meet me in the office will be dressed in a sherwani" has drawn criticism from outside as a move to "impose" a dress code, students say it is not even an issue.

In fact, members of the students' union wear sherwani and karakul cap at all times. It is a proud tradition of the university, they say, and Shah's is a move to restore and strengthen it. The university provides sherwanis to all male students at a subsidised price of Rs 800. Students get plain black sherwanis while members of the union wear a dark shade of grey. Some complained that even the subsidised price is a bit steep but not many were averse to wearing a sherwani.

The students are more concerned about the other announcement in Shah's letter —which came after a student from another institution was molested on the campus by "two young, armed thugs pretending to be AMU students" — that motorcycles would not be allowed on the campus from the next session.

The university has a sprawling 1,300 acre campus, which is used by Aligarh's commuters as a thoroughfare. So, the ban on motorcycles, which is seen as an attempt to ensure law and order on the campus, may be difficult to implement. "It is a huge campus and people from outside AMU pass by to cut distances. It may be difficult to completely stop passage of bikes," says a student.

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