The University Grants Commission (UGC), in its latest notice, has asked all the higher education institutes (HEIs) in India including universities and colleges to use khadi and handloom material for convocations and other special occasions. In the letter written to all the vice-chancellors, the UGC asked them to act upon Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s advice to revive the handlooms.
Calling khadi as ‘liveries of freedom’, the UGC asked universities to take necessary actions in this direction. “Take appropriate action to adopt Khadi and/or handloom fabric for ceremonial dresses to encourage the use of Khadi and also the Khadi Kattins (Spinners) and Bunkars (weavers),” the letter added.
“The use of Khadi and other handlooms will not only give a sense of pride of being Indian but also be more comfortable in hot and humid weather,” the UGC said.
The letter also highlighted the use of the fabric as a weapon in India’s freedom struggle. “Mahatma Gandi used Khadi, a hand-spun and handloom cloth as a weapon during the struggle for Indian Independence,” it said while adding, “Khadi and handloom fabric not only forms an integral part of our rich culture and heritage but also provides livelihood opportunities to lakhs of people living in the rural areas.”
In a similar move last year, the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry asked universities across the country to replace their ‘British-inspired’ convocation attire with traditional Indian clothes as a tribute to Mahatma Gandhi. “I would like to urge all universities across the country that rather than going for British-inspired clothes for their convocation they should go for traditional Indian clothes. Universities can ask their students to come up with design options or can also refer to some designs posted on HRD Ministry’s website,” the then HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar had said in a video message to universities.