| President Pranab Mukherjee at the IIT-Patna convocation on Saturday. Picture by Deepak Kumar |
Patna, Oct. 26: President Pranab Mukherjee today had an unusual request from chief minister Nitish Kumar: could the convention of wearing gowns during convocations be done away with?
The chief minister, wearing a light blue convocation gown and a square academic cap worn at passing-out parades, requested Mukherjee to do away with the practice. He made the suggestion, partly in jest, in his address.
Nitish said: “President, I am pleased with your decision to do away with the use of colonial sobriquets like ‘His Excellency’. Please do the needful to do away with the custom of wearing gowns during convocations, too.” The 89 techies, sitting in their convocation gowns and square academic caps, welcomed the observation by clapping. Nitish even wanted students be left to sport just a cap or pagdi instead of the square academic cap.
Days before Mukherjee’s visit to Darbhanga last year for the convocation of Lalit Narayan Mithila University, his office had approved a new protocol when greeting dignitaries inside and outside the country, while discontinuing the use of “His Excellency”.