Dressed in a T-shirt and sport-shoe, young Arvind went to appear in an interview in the Coast Guard. The members of the interview board turned furious over the choice of his dress. He was pulled up and subsequently not selected. Fresh from high school and just in college, he was not aware that one should not face interview in casual dress. This notwithstanding the fact that he comes from an urban educated family and his father was an employee in the All India Radio.
This incident did not make any big news-story. Though his father was in a radio station, Arvind never approached any newspaper office or television channel to complain that he was denied justice. He never justified that he was right. In fact he conceded that it was a mistake on his part to appear in interview in such a dress. His only regret is that he was not aware of it. One is sure, had Arvind approached any newspaper office or television channel with complain, he would have been advised not to make it an issue as he had violated the norms.
But once the same norms are enforced on girls anywhere – be it school, college, job etc. – the media and our liberal-thinkers would dub the move as discriminatory to the fairer gender. They would label the authorities imposing ban as Taliban. The lady principals of at least three colleges of Kanpur are facing the same music. And they are not the first to come across such a situation. Their only crime is that they banned girls from wearing skin-tight jeans, sleeveless vests and mini-skirts and did not allow them to come with mobile phones on the campus. If an interview board is well within its right to deny a job or admission to a talented boy just because he unknowingly violates the norms, the principals of these colleges are also justified in enforcing the discipline on the girls. The liberals in the media, who are asking the lady principals the definition of norms and discipline, must go and ask all the members of the interview board as to what is wrong in appearing in interview in T-shirt, jeans and sport-shoes.
After all the girls of Kanpur colleges have only been asked not to wear such dresses, they are not being denied job as in the case with the above-mentioned boy.
Gender justice does not mean justifying all the wrongs of the girls and penalising boys for no rhyme or reason. Whenever such issues come up, the liberal-thinkers start shouting why there is no dress-code for boys. But may one ask as to who says that there is no dress-code for boys or for that matter male employees. There are innumerable instances of boys being thrown out of institutions for wearing red-shirts, skin-tight jeans, sporting beard and for that matter coming with mobile phones. Not to speak of boys and girls, in many Plus-II schools – and even in coaching institutes – teachers are not allowed to come with cell phone as it is against the discipline and norms of the institutions.
In fact only a few months back a Muslim boy of Madhya Pradesh was expelled from the high school as he sported beard. He in fact lost the case in the Supreme Court where the judge said there was no room for Talibanisation. And none came to his rescue simply on the ground that he was violating the norms of the schools. Where had all the liberals gone when in the name of norms a young career had been crushed?
There is no denying the fact that of late more and more girls are wearing indecent dresses. I have in over four decades of my life never seen any boy student – even the most ruffian one – coming to college in half-pants or sandow banyan showing armpits. But go to any campus – now even in small towns – and you would find girls in micro-skirts, hot-pants, Bermuda shorts, tight jeans over short sleeveless-vests with midriff wide open. How many boys show their midriff or bare their legs and thighs on the campus?
The so-called liberals in the media deliberately give a twist to the whole debate over wearing of jeans. No, the problem is never over jeans as a cloth. The issue is how is the jeans worn now. Unlike the baggy jeans of the past, today wear skin-tight jeans over short sleeveless vests are worn by girls. In the earlier years baggy jeans with full-size kurta was always acceptable for girls and boys and no ban was ever imposed, though the society was more conservative then. The liberals say that skin-tight jeans are worn because they are comfortable. Nothing can be far from truth. Unlike baggy jeans or shalwar suit, they are the most uncomfortable dress and causes skin and other diseases. If the liberals want girls to do all what boys do then it is hoped that they will allow boys to wear sari.
If the dress-code is really disturbing, it needs to be debated in totality, rather than in isolation. One may ask as to why a lawyer in torrid temperature be asked to wear black coat in the crowded and poorly ventilated courtroom. The liberals have different arguments for different cases. If a school girl goes to school wearing trousers and is expelled from there then in that case they would not stand behind the poor victim, even if the temperature is very cold. In that case they would argue that one must adhere to the norms of the schools.
Those jumping in favour of girls bent upon violating the college rules of Kanpur need to read something about the history of dresses before coming over to the television channels or write something on the issue. They should at least read the chapter on the history of dresses taught in Class-IX in the CBSE medium schools. And the Marxists among them need to read between pages 360 and 380 of Karl Marx’s Das Kapital. They will then know how the size of skirt was gradually shortened by the feudals and the capitalists for their own vested interests. It had nothing to do with the development or progress or women’s emancipation. In fact it was part of a decadent culture. And Marx was not a Taliban.