Assam govt mulls voluntary ‘traditional’ dress code for staff, triggers row | india-news | Hindustan Times
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Assam govt mulls voluntary ‘traditional’ dress code for staff, triggers row

After officials were seen wearing traditional finery at Civil Services Day, a proposal has been moved to ask bureaucrats to wear ‘dhoti-kurta’ (for men) and ‘mekhela-chador’ (for women).

india Updated: May 04, 2017 13:06 IST
Utpal Parashar
Assam

Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal along with former CM Tarun Gogoi (second from right) and BJP MP Bijoya Chakravarti (extreme right) and other leaders during Rongali Bihu celebrations at Latashil Field in Guwahati last month.(PTI FILE PHOTO)

Assam government employees could soon be wearing ‘dhoti-kurta’ (for men) and ‘mekhela-chador’ (for women) on first and third Saturdays every month even as a section of staff has opposed the move, saying it doesn’t represent the many tribes and communities of the state.

The idea germinated after several officials, particularly chief secretary V K Pipersenia, wore traditional finery during Civil Services Day celebration, an event attended by chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal, on April 21.

PK Borthakur, principal secretary (personnel), then wrote a letter to PK Tiwari, principal secretary (general administration), “to formulate a suitable proposal” in this regard.

Artists perform Bihu dance during Rongali Bihu celebrations in Guwahati last month. (PTI)

“It appears that coming in traditional dresses also induced feelings of enthusiasm and spirit among the officers,” Borthakur wrote.

“In this regard, as advised by the chief secretary, you may like to formulate a suitable proposal asking officials/employees to come dressed up with traditional dresses on first and third Saturdays…on voluntary basis,” he said.

The proposal has however not been welcomed by Sadou Asom Karmachari Parishad (SAKP), the umbrella organisation of state government employees, which feels it will create differences between employees who belong to diverse communities and tribes.

Tribal women perform Rabha dance during the Suwori Tribal festival in Boko, about 70 km west of Guwahati. Traditional elephant fights, elephant races, horse races, tug of war and dances mark this festival which coincides with the Assamese Rongali Bihu, or the harvest festival. (AP FILE PHOTO)

“Every tribe and community has their own traditional dress, which are not same as ‘dhoti-kurta’ and ‘mekhela-chador’. Hence the move may create confusion and controversy,” SAKP president Basab Kalita said.

There are at least 20 tribes in Assam recognised by the government and each has varying customs and costumes.

Tribal Rabha artists perform a traditional folk dance during Rongali Bihu celebrations in Guwahati last month. (AP FILE PHOTO)

See more: The Rongali Bihu celebrations