Stoking a potential controversy, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh on Friday called as "barbaric colonial relics" the practice of wearing the traditional coloured robe at convocation ceremonies and publicly removed his own gown at one such event.
"I still have not been able to figure out after 60 years of Independence why we stick to this barbaric colonial relics," Ramesh said while addressing students at the seventh convocation of the Indian Institute of Forest Management (IIFM).
Ramesh also posed a question as to why there cannot be a convocation with everyone sporting a simple dress.
"Why we cannot have a convocation in simple dress instead of coming dressed up as medieval vicars and popes," he asked, as he removed his gown worn over his trademark white kurta.
Ramesh's dramatic action drew a loud applause from the assembled gathering.