Orientation ceremonies for freshmen are no more just about welcome speeches and small cultural shows.
This month, in addition to their usual academic orientation, the students of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Mumbai hosted a grand cultural programme that saw a performance by professional belly dancers.
The dancers bared their midriffs, and gyrated and swung their hips in the college auditorium.
A first for the IITs, the performance has raised many brows and sent tongues wagging among the student community. While some dismiss it as students enjoying a harmless dance form, most Delhi colleges say they won’t consider going that ‘bold’.
“We won’t allow dances that endorse eroticism. I would allow Kathakali, Kathak, or the great traditional dances we have, because educational institutions are meant to promote these. Other forms of dances can be promoted in a club or discotheque, not in a college,” says Dr Vinay Kumar Srivastava, principal, Hindu College.The principal of Hansraj College, VK Kawatra, shares a similar view. "We can never allow belly dancers to perform at any college function. These dances are definitely not meant for college atmosphere."
Dr IS Bakshi, principal, Dyal Singh College, says, “These things are understandable on an entertainment channel, but when it comes to colleges, one has to maintain decorum. The situation can get out of hand, as most students are teens.”
While authorities at IIT Mumbai were not available to answer queries, a student, on condition of anonymity said, “Yes, we did have belly dance performances but it was not the college authorities that organised the event. It was the students.”
They have support in some.
“I see no issue with getting belly dancers to perform in my college, as long as it is not inappropriate,” says Dr PC Jain, principal of Delhi’s Shri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC).
Fests are big stuff!
In 2010, IIT Delhi’s annual fest Rendezvous had a budget of over a crore. In the past, stars such as John Abraham and Anushka Sharma have a been a part of it
Shankar Ehsaan Loy performed at the annual fest of Shri Ram College of Commerce this year. It had a budget of Rs 50lakh
Other big shows at DU fests include those by Faridkot, Stereo Nation, Mohit Chauhan, Kailash Kher and Sonu Nigam.