Stop illiberal thinking

The problem of correctly identifying BPL beneficiaries is a real hurdle to getting food to the poor. How does the ordinance aim to address this?

The move by the authorities of Aligarh Muslim University women’s college rescinding a notice that sought to impose a dress code for hostel inmates should be welcomed.

A cross-section of society had condemned the draconian edit that tried to spell out what constitutes “decent dress” for women, and the provost who initiated the code was forced to retract. While it is laudable if the university’s faculty and administrators try to bring some discipline among the student community, unwarranted restrictions are never a good idea in an open society like India’s. Dress is a particularly sensitive issue, and today’s generation is accustomed to a more liberal view and enjoys far greater choice than preceding generations in what to wear, and cannot be expected to react meekly.
Funnily enough, girls were not the only ones being told what to wear on campus. The boys were advised to don sherwanis on Friday for university functions and for a darshan of the vice-chancellor. An ancient public university founded in 1875 which had established great traditions in imparting education, and not just to members of the minority community, can ill afford to be regressive in its approach.
The use of mobile phones may be a touchy point over which the authorities can have greater say, particularly when it comes to classroom discipline. But to deny girls from non-professional undergraduate programmes access to the library is a further sign of illiberal thinking; so too when the administration begins to codify the degrees of decency in dress.

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