A circular asking the PGIMER graduates to “bow before the chief guest and director before returning to their seats” at the annual convocation scheduled for February 4, has raised many eyebrows. This year, the doctors will receive their degrees from Union Health Minister J P Nadda, the chief guest.
President of Association of Resident Doctors Dr Uttam Thakur said bowing should not be made mandatory. “I will take up this issue with the PGI administration. Bowing out of respect is natural. It should not be made compulsory. I will speak to the PGIMER director about it,” he said.
The circular states, “After you have received the degree, you will kindly bow to the chief guest and director before returning to your seat.” Sources said such directions were given even during the convocation in 2015 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the chief guest.
“It is different if the chief guest is the President or Prime Minister. We thought the President will come for our convocation. But they should not particularly ask us to bow,” fumed a doctor, who will receive his degree on February 4.
Former sub-dean of Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Dr K L N Rao expressed his surprise at the student outrage, saying bowing is a general practice that was followed during his time as well. It must be a generational issue. The Health Minister is also the President of the institute as far as the PGIMER family is concerned. I don’t see anything wrong in extending this general courtesy to the chief guest,” he said.
The general rules of convocation specify, “the concerned students will acknowledge by a bow and sit down.”
Initially, the PGIMER authorities had invited President Ram Nath Kovind for the convocation, but he wasn’t available on this date and Nadda was invited instead.