Right to dress: Kerala minister backs women teachers amid row over sarees

The Kerala minister said that though the government issued a circular on May 9, 2014, clarifying the matter, several institutions in the state continue such practices.
Bindu pointed out that while teaching at Kerala Varma College, she used to “wear churidars regularly.” (HT File Photo/Representative Image)
Bindu pointed out that while teaching at Kerala Varma College, she used to “wear churidars regularly.” (HT File Photo/Representative Image)
Published on Nov 13, 2021 11:28 AM IST
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By | Written by Meenakshi Ray, New Delhi

Teachers in Kerala have every right to wear what they want to, the state’s higher education minister R Bindu has said amid a row after a college asked a lecturer to not wear salwar-kameez to classes. The higher education department on Friday also issued a circular after teachers complained that several institutions in the state continue to practice such policing.

"The government has already made clear its stance in this regard multiple times. Teachers have every right to dress as per their comfort in Kerala regardless of the kind of institutes they work at. This practice of imposing sari on our teachers is not conducive to Kerala's progressive attitude," Bindu, who was a professor at the Sree Kerala Varma College in Thrissur, said in a series of tweets on Friday.

The minister also tweeted to say that she spoke to a young lecturer a few days ago who shared her experience at an educational institute at Kodungallur. “Though she has the necessary qualifications, the staff apparently put forward a condition that she had to wear a sari everyday if she wanted to work there. After news reports on this, more such incidents have been brought to attention,” she said in a series of tweets.

Bindu pointed out that while teaching at Kerala Varma College, she used to “wear churidars regularly.”

"While a teacher has several responsibilities, adhering to such outdated and obsolete ideas is not one of them. One's choice of dressing is an entirely personal matter. No one has the right to criticise or interfere in another's sartorial choices," she said.

The minister also wrote on Twitter that though the government issued a circular on May 9, 2014, clarifying the matter, several institutions in the state continue such practices. "Hence, the Higher Education Department is issuing another circular to this effect," she said.

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Thursday, May 19, 2022