Tonk Schools In Rajasthan Ban 'Indecent' Jeans And It Is A Much Bigger Issue Than You Think

Devika Tripathi

The Indian subcontinent is peppered with a number of crisis and one of them, which is quite significant but rests on the lowest rung of the ladder is 'school uniform'. Recently, according to The Times of India report, the schools in Tonk district of Rajasthan have banned jeans in the school premises for teaching and non-teaching members, as per the orders issued by the Chief District Education Officer in Tonk. The jeans, according to the officer, is 'indecent' and informal. Informal we understand but indecent is not the appropriate word. Adding to that, while this particular instance might not limit to female students and staff but a lot of school uniform issues gets restricted to female students.

Speaking about school uniforms of female students, about two years ago in Rajasthan, as per the letter issued by Commissionerate of College Education, the students of the Government Colleges in Rajasthan - the female students were asked to wear saris and salwar kameezes. The students stood against the regressive dress code. Similarly, back in 2019, at St. Francis College in Hyderabad, some of the female students were stopped at the gate of the college premises as their kurtis were above their knees. In this particular incident, the size of the garment also mattered following which the students of the college protested against such an absurd rule. Noted Telugu film actress, Lakshmi Manchu also tweeted in favour of the students. The college had later withdrawn its regressive rule.

Somehow, according to certain authorities, salwar kameezes and saris are 'safe' and jeans and skirts are 'unsafe'. According to St. Francis College, the thighs attracted boys, and this is where exactly some of the educational institutions put girls in a provocative light. They believe in shielding, protecting women but somehow sadly they make a strong case for victim-blaming and objectification. Well, rather than teaching men to stop harassment and eve teasing, they choose to is to prohibit women to wear certain types of clothes (according to these institutions and authorities) that provoke men. Such backward rules, unfortunately also promote patriarchy, where women are oppressed and that whatever abuse happens to them it is their fault and while men are free of any responsibility. These authorities indirectly also introduce the idea of what is seductive and what is not, for instance in the present case of jeans being 'indecent'.

We see a great problem here and high time, these institutions stop putting restrictions on the uniforms of female students.

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