Reacting to Union Minister Jairam Ramesh's comment over the practice of donning ceremonial gowns at convocations, the Vice-Chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University today said "barbaric" was not the proper word he should have used and "legacy" would have been suitable.
He said he felt the practice of wearing the coloured gowns was a legacy of the past.
"This is a legacy of past. As I said, the church-oriented universities maintain the church like decorum. As far as the barbaric (comment), I think it is a bit too far.
"If it is to be considered barbaric in India, it should be considered barbaric also in Oxford, Cambridge, European Universities, American Universities. That is not the proper word. I think legacy would be perhaps the correct word. Legacy of the church extended university, maintaining the tradition extended to India" B B Bhattacharya, VC, JNU, said.
On April 2, Ramesh had discarded his hat and gown at the convocation ceremony of Indian Institute of Forest Management (IIFM) in Bhopal, describing them as "barbaric colonial relics".
Giving the graduation gown a dressing down saying it was a "sign of colonial slavery", the minister rooted for "something more Indian."
Ramesh's actions got him some support from senior BJP leader Murali Manohar Joshi and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who said there should be for a nation-wide debate over the issue.