An image of a group of students seated in an auditorium wearing kurtas and saffron scarves is viral on social media with false claims. The posts claim that Uttaranchal University has, for the first time, done away with black graduation day robes and instructed all its students to wear saffron scarves instead.
BOOM found that the viral picture is from the convocation ceremony of Uttaranchal University held in February 2020. We contacted the registrar of the university who confirmed to us that students of different departments wore scarves of different colours and there was no single-colour-scarf dress code for the event.
The viral image shows a group of students wearing kurtas and orange scarves, sitting in what looks like an auditorium. Several social media handles have shared this photo with captions suggesting that the Uttaranchal university is the first educational institution in the country to end the British tradition of awarding degrees in black graduation gowns and instead opting for a dress code which includes a saffron scarf.
A viral Facebook post shares the picture with a Hindi caption translating to 'Ending a British tradition of awarding degrees to students in black graduation gown, Uttaranchal University this year awarded degrees to students dressed in saffron scarves. Our country is changing'.
(Hindi: उत्तराँचल युनिवर्सिटी उत्तराखण्ड में अंग्रेजों के जमाने से चली आ रही परम्परा को. युनिवर्सिटी ने खत्म करते हुए. दीक्षांत समारोह में इस वर्ष काले कोट और काले टोप की जगह सभी स्टुडेंट्स को भगवा दुपट्टा पहनाकर डिग्रीयाँ दिलाई गईं. हमारा देश बदल रहा है
The picture has been tweeted by one Rakesh Thiyya with a caption reading 'Uttaranchal University in Uttarakhand ends the British era practice of wearing black gowns and caps on graduation day. Instead students wore kurta and saffron scarf'.
The image has been shared from multiple Facebook pages and Twitter handles with similar claims.
BOOM searched the internet for reports on Uttaranachal University's dress code for graduation day. We found several websites using the same image but without much information on the university starting this practice. View the websites here and here.
BOOM then checked the university's official website and looked for photographs of a convocation ceremony. A link on the website titled Uttaranchal University Convocation 2020 directed us to a Google drive where photos from last year's convocation ceremonies had been uploaded.
We found that while the dress worn by the students was same - cream coloured - the colours of scarves differed. Students can be seen sporting blue, green, red, saffron and yellow scarves.
A picture from the convocation ceremony held on February 29, 2020 makes this clear.
BOOM then contacted the university to get more details on the viral claim.
"If you check our website you can see the colour was divided into four. There's blue, there's yellow. This is in accordance to the order by the Governor that all the Uttarakhand universities have to do the convocation in the traditional attire. No black gowns were to be allowed," the registrar of the university told BOOM.
We also spoke to the Dean, Management of the university. "The colours were based on the departments. There are different departments like law, management and engineering in the university," Dr Pradeep Suri, Dean, management told BOOM.
BOOM went through the pictures of the convocation and found a picture of the girl, whose selfie-shot is viral with the false caption, receiving a degree on the stage. We compared the facial features and found that they belonged to the same person.
We also found a 2015 circular issued by the University's Grants Commission 'requesting universities to consider handloom fabric for ceremonial dresses prescribed for special occasions like convocation etc'. The circular mentions that this has been emphasised in order to revive the handloom sector and improve the earnings of handloom weavers.
We also found news reports from 2019 stating that western graduation robes would be replaced with traditional attire made of Indian handloom.
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