Decoding the Obsession for Uniforms

"Uniform : universal (Uni) formation (form) was created by the defence many, many years ago, the basis of this was to identify, at a glance, a set (or even a sect) of people engaged in a single activity.

It percolated to 1.Identity 2.Discipline 3.Unity 4.Utility 5.Colour codes 6. Localisation and the last being 7.Comfort From the comics to the epics, it has been drilled into us visually and subconsciously that each character, depicting a specific role is always in a particular dress code, with very minor or no variations. Examples may include from the much recent Archies comics to the popular characters from Indian mythology like Rama and Lakshmana. The list simply goes on so as our common perception about uniforms based on the line of professions ̶ sages, guards, kings, priests, professors, doctors, school children, corporate employee (white shirt tie and an identity tag), nurses, drivers and even robbers (the back n white stripes with a scarf around the neck and a thin moustache)! And not to forget politicians and the like donning an attire which can be termed ‘clichéd’ by all means.

The uniforms of all these professionals represent some sanctity, purity and value based identity. The police’s Khaki outfits made them feared and respected. The doctors’ White lab coats made us revere and respect them. The lawyers’ conventional Black coats made seem trusted and respected. The Godmen’s ochre and saffron robes stood for sanctity and respect. The teachers’ traditional attire reflected them as individuals who were loved and respected. But, is it the same today? In today's world, it is good to introspect if these professions and the sanctity match each other? Although, I do not imply that all those who wear uniforms are corrupt, selfish, money minded or rude, but ironically, these traits have become synonymous to these uniforms. Speaking of uniforms, I would like to bring my attention to today’s children and decode their understanding of the term ‘uniform’. Sadly, children imbibe what they hear around them. Seldom do they find adults upholding the respect that uniform mean to their profession. They hear a lot of ridicule and disgrace from around them, and then the same adults are the ones to create a farce on discipline and decorum that uniforms are supposed to bring about! So, here I stand with humble advice to those adults who rigidly profess the need for uniforms for children, when you break rules, bribe and get away with white lies, the child is watching you! He or she imbibes what is witnessed. So reflect back on your firm conviction and right to impose the rule of uniforms for children in their place of learning?

Much recently, I pointed out to a child in a school about how neatly his teachers dressed and how beautiful they all looked, he candidly replied, "Pruthvi Uncle, some of them look nice but, they are very mean and bad inside and in their behaviour, wish they were all beautiful in their behaviour towards children and adults around them rather than only being dressed well in whatever uniform." Well, that day my thoughts on uniforms ended. "

Pruthvi Banwasi

The Day I Found My Teacher in My Student

“The Day I Found My Teacher in My Student There is a theory that a guru, mentor or teacher is always an individual of an older age, serious faced and beaming with wisdom in all actions and talks. For long, we bowed to this common belief and readily accepted and respected those who came with more number of life experiences than we did. As much as I like to believe that this behaviour of ours made us polite and respectful towards those who were older to us by age as they represented maturity and were reliable proof of information, I also admit the attitude made us ignorant towards much simpler facts of life that a ‘guru’ can be found in anyone who does not necessarily fit into our common description or perception of a teacher! A teacher I found in my student, one of the day I walked into the Roots Academy. As I got my routine hugs from children (a common greeting ritual at Roots), one of the children, Vernika came by and said, "Uncle do you know how to make friendship band?" While I sheepishly admitted that making a Friendship Band was one of the skills I wasn't familiar with, Vernika dragged into the library and made me sit beside her on the mat.

Then for a good 45 minutes, I was taught by the master herself to spin the colourful strands of thread to create a lovely wristband! I managed to please Vernika in my very first attempt to make a Friendship wristband.

Happy with my newfound knowledge, I headed out of the library when it suddenly occurred to me that I resuming back to my role as a teacher once again after my brief ‘Friendship band making session’ with Vernika, my little Guru. The realization humbled me and the thought that a many a times the teacher learns from the student took over my fascination of having learned a new skill. Pondering over this with a glass of butter milk in hand, I sauntered around and realised no class room nor a black board no age or position can bring about the unison of a teacher and student. If you are destined to learn, then nature will provide the teacher and the pupil. Nature will also ensure the lessons that need to be learnt will be imbibed by the student.

The experience further strengthened my belief that we regardless of our age and positions that we hold in life, shall remain the students and pay gratitude to our teachers who may be young in age or vast in experience. As long as they are the masters of their arts and us, willingly wanting to be their students.

Pruthvi Banwasi
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