Babus asked to go Swadeshi

Chief secretary issued a directive to all government officials in Bihar to shed their jeans and designer shirts and rely on khadi instead, reports Anirban Guha Roy.
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Updated on Aug 26, 2007 04:53 AM IST
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None | By Anirban Guha Roy, Patna

Bureaucrats in Bihar can no longer afford to be ‘casual’ about what they wear to work. The days of the flashy mai-baap will soon be over with the state asking all government officials to switch to swadeshi.

Chief secretary Ashok Chowdhary on Friday issued a directive to all government officials in the state to shed their jeans and designer shirts and rely on good old khadi instead.

The dress code suggests IAS officers and other civil servants should dress in formal Indian clothes like dhoti with kurta or shirt or a bush-shirt with trousers (white or some dull shade). A short buttoned-up coat and trousers (white or grey) are also allowed. The fabrics should preferably be hand-spun and hand-woven.

Women officers have not been spared either. For them, it will be plain saris or salwar-kameez and dupatta, but nothing remotely expensive or fashionable.

Recently, the High Court had pulled up two officers when they had appeared before the court in gaudy and non-formal clothes. The directive issued by the chief secretary is being seen as follow-up action.

Said Cabinet Secretary Girish Shankar, “There is nothing new about the dress code. It was framed long back but seldom followed. Now, all government officials will have to be strict in the observance of the code.” He said that all officers, whether in the secretariat or in the districts, have to stick to the code.

For ceremonial occasions and evening parties a black sherwani teamed with white churidar pyjamas or a black bandhgala and white or crème trousers are the suggested options. Incidentally, the dress code does not mention the safari suit, a hot favourite with babus, as formal wear.

A dress code for bureaucrats was prescribed as early as the early fifties, during the regime of the Srikrishna Singh government to discontinue the legacy of civil servants of the British Raj. The objective was to restrain government officials from wearing western clothes.

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