It was a drizzly morning as I peeped out of my glass window of my train seated snugly after a comfortable night’s sleep. I was overcome with nostalgia for my days in the city of Ahmedabad, its familiar roads, pathways and shops.
I was visiting my alma mater, IIT Gandhinagar, which was celebrating its decennial. I had arrived in the city, not for the first time, where Mahatma Gandhi chose to set up his ashram on the banks of Sabarmati; quite appositely, my alma mater, a burgeoning and aspiring blend of Harvard and Nalanda, also stands alongside the Sabarmati in a 400-acre picturesque campus with an architecture that blends the traditional and the modern.
Ten years! We have come a long way, indeed. The campus was lush green with yellow butterflies hovering all along the pathways, Sabarmati River flowing peacefully alongside the academic blocks, birds tweeting and chirping in melody and creepers rising against the grey academic walls—all set against the crimson sun trying to peep through the grey clouds. It was as if nature was also rejoicing in the buildings and the structures that had come up in last few years.
Sitting back in a comfortable sofa at the guest house, I opened up my portmanteau and there it was, my convocation kurta in a golden and brownish hue, a couture that was stitched and composed of rich fabrics like Mashru, a traditional hand-woven fabric in Gujarat, hand-woven Ghicha silk, and hand-spun Khadi silk. I picked it up and exclaimed, “What a fine sartorial choice!”
The convocation day is one of the most cherished memories in the life of any graduate. A regal garment so Indian will instil pride and confidence among the graduates as they march on to the halls to receive their degrees and medals.
On 2 October 2018, on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti, the Union Minister of Human Resources and Development Prakash Javadekar urged universities to adopt an Indian attire for their convocations (Do away with ‘British-inspired’ convocation attire: Javadekar appeals varsities to go for traditional Indian clothes, newindianexpress.com, Oct. 2).
I felt proud that my alma mater, IIT Gandhinagar, took the lead in imbuing an Indian consciousness in young minds, which would helm the leadership spaces within the country in academia, industry and public spaces in decades to come.
Yash Pratap Singh