As a kid, I hated my school uniform. White shirt with a blue pleated skirt was way too boring for me. I hated it wen the teachers would check my nails in the morning or tell me that I should always tie my hair in a neat pony tail. I remember altering my school uniform as soon as I got into seventh grade. I started wearing blue trousers with a white shirt raising a lot of eye brows, even getting punished for altering the uniform. But, it was not very difficult to convince everyone that I could not wear knee length pleated skirts (oh, sentiments πŸ˜› ). Next year I had a long, flared skirt. And in the tenth grade, I even remember wearing a complete white shalwar kameez with a blue dupatta!

The University was a big relief. There was no uniform and I spent my whole University life in the simplest possible clothes while all the girls of my class spent at least 2 hours every day in the morning in front of the mirror just to make sure they looked drop-dead gorgeous in georgette and banarsi suits with perfectly matching chappals.

But no matter what all of us girls wore, we all knew our limits. We all knew how short or how transparent or how tight our clothes could get. Things have changed drastically over the past few years. If you havent been to Pakistan for the past 3-4 years, you would actually get a culture shock. The clothes have suddenly become skimpier (inflation?) and public display of affection is now prevalent everywhere in Pakistan. There is a much greater number of girls flaunting their abayas, but most of the girls wear theirs abayas in such a way that they actually become more seductive than the girls not wearing abayas.

I, as always, am still very against having uniforms in Universities and am one of those few people opposing this idea which is under discussion at our University these days. I dont want to see all boys in grey trousers and a white shirt and all the girls in plain white shalwar kameez with grey dupattas. I want to see THEM as individuals and I just dont think that a uniform helps bring out their personalities. What we need to do is somehow tell them how to dress modestly, rather than imprisoning them in a dull, boring uniform.


55 thoughts on “Anarchy

  1. Although I have studied at NED but I am strongly in favor of Uniform because:

    1)it brings discipline.
    2)it does not make one suffer inferiority complex;rich students wearing designer clothes and poors in clothes bought from light house Landa market.
    3) one does not come at university in wrinkled shalwar kameez and ghar ki chappal. It’s pretty norm at NED and KU

    Students come university for studies not for fashion parade that they have to appear colorful. There are other factors which should be focused to glow them rather their appearance.

    my 2 cents.

  2. I remember this one time at school in the tenth grade. We had a strict one inch hair policy. So some ten dudes in the graduating class thought of rebelling this rule. What they did was that they all got Bald! Hahaha that was fun!!! They were all called to the principal’s office and asked (very politely) what was going on, the answer was Ma’am we wanted to be good students and adhere to the rules even when we left! Is nt the what you guys want us to do? The administration was even more bewildered when five more boys got bald! They actually changed the rules that you had to ask for permission to get bald!!!! This is how administration tries to quench individuality from students when schools should actually promote and nourish that!

    Ok since I have always studies in a strict and rigid environment, NUST the biggest of them all, I would agree with you! Uniforms destroy that individuality and uniqueness each person brings to the table. All the above point Ummi mentions above can be accomplished without imposing a uniform.

    Take AKU for example. They have a dress code, Boys in Dress pants and dress shirts with formal shoes, and girls in elbow sleeved shalwar kameez. What really grooms people especially students is discipline, and discipline does nt come from a uniform. A uniform only shoes the authoritarian and unimaginative perspective of the administration. There is always an easy way to do things and a right way. In Pakistan we always choose the easy way.

    • I would like to know how #2 can be imposed without a uniform?

      one thing more.. does it not make a student free to chose which dress should be worn next day?

      • Would stop allowing university students to bring cars? would you stop them to bring cell phones as well? Buddy! You cannot do that even with a uniform! Rich people would get their uniform stitched from a good taylor with better cloth! Can you stop that?

        You cannot eradicate the distinction between the rich and the poor by making them look somewhat the same. What you are talking about is a falacy and something which cannot and should not be achieved at school!

      • If you can not stop 3 factors out of nth factors then it does not mean you don’t implement others.

        I am quite clear what I said above. Uniforms successfully worked in schools then why not for universities?

      • Uniforms dont work at schools successfully! Hell you tend to alienate more poor children with uniforms than you do with plain clothes! And how many rich children have you seen studying with the poor at school? The rich tend to create their own niche!

      • the university i am in hardly has under priviliged students, they all come from rich families and they would some how be able to wear designer clothes: getting an expensive grey trouser aint difficult, or is it?

        I want students to learn to dress modestly and for that u dont have to show them a danda. have u never seen girls wearing really tight and really short shirts in uniform (the art of altering uniform to match your needs, here the need might be seducing more men)? So wats the use of a uniform there?

      • I was not talking about exceptional cases like universities. Let’s talk about all Universities. True that you can not bring modesty in uniforms as well but it does solve many issues which I mentioned above.

      • lets assume that uniform should not be imposed. Now how would you bring modesty in your students while they are rich as well?

        Is forcing modesty not a Danda? πŸ˜‰

      • no, its not. having a dress code helps for sure. Deep necks can be worn in a uniform but if a girl knows the ‘hazards’ of wearing deep necks, she wouldnt opt for a deep neck ever. Kids learn from their elders. The girls in our department dress quite modestly already cuz their teachers dress modestly. while in other departments, how can the students be made to dress modestly wen the teachers themselves are wearing capris? The teachers need to implement a few rules on themselves first, the students will follow just as they do in our department. Just saying that students are not wearing dupattas and imposing uniform would ‘make’ them wear a dupatta is not enough.
        Further, we do have Islamic Studies taught in the first two years, cant good manners including modest dressing sense be inculcated in them through this course? I am sure the course of Islamic Studies should be a lot more than simply memorising Quranic Verses without understanding.

      • You are not clear.

        At one side you don’t want to impose anything(DANDA) while on other hand you talk about modesty which is an example of Danda and a way to impose discipline. You need to decide what are your objectives.

        2nd, you gave example of uniform made by expensive fabric,well atleast the design of the uniform will be same or you are saying that students will check uniform fabric by touching it? White shirt will be white while a gray trouser will be a gray trouser rather a 6-pocket fashionable pant.

        I think your argument is quite weak and your management will not take you seriously. Just because you don’t like it and it appears boring will not help you to win the argument infront of management because it’s more like personal choice than any benefit.

        Uniform does not solve all problems but it does solve many problems.

        I rest my case here now.

      • Dude! Your “case” is more slim than straws!There is discipline and then there is authoritarianism. Discipline does nt come from rules and regulation forced upon the population. discipline comes from careful nip tuck by a very intelligent person who know not only the subject’s personality but also knows the effects of a his actions onto those of the subject.

        Discipline does nt come from making arbitrary rules just to achieve short term goals. discipline comes from a long and carefully planned relationship with a mentor. Any discipline I learned was from my techers and my parents and various other elders that were in my life. Not from wearing a uniform! In fact wearing a uniform and other sych nonsence rules made me challenge them the get my way when ever I could. Not that it means that I turned into a rebel.

        Restrictive rules not only discourages personal and professional growth. If you take uniform for example. I did nt learn dressing from wearing a uniform, instead I learned it from wearing dress clothes and watching other people wear and look good wearing them. Hell I learned to wear a suit from none other than James Bond! (Just kidding.)

        Furthermore, uniform does nt prepare the graduates for the world they are about to enter, which is almost without rules. They need to learn to make intelligent decision themselves.

      • modesty cannot be imposed. It is a personal choice. There is no danda involved. inculcating good manners in students is not equal to danda. All I am saying is that it should be taught, not imposed. Imposing it will only make students more rebellious. You are confusing between the two. If my mom told me that it is better to drink water while sitting, she didnt show me a danda, she told me very politely and justified it in such a way that I never felt like breaking the rule.
        As I altered my uniforms like many other students, I dont think it would be difficult to alter the uniform’s plain trouser into a fashionable pant. I have worn trousers myself instead of skirts, why cant the design be changed? It can be changed quite easily and its not difficult to get away with it.
        secondly, I am not going to say this to the Administration. I have said it to the Director who himself is against the uniform. He has worn a uniform for 40 years of his life and he hates it and according to him, he always hated it.

      • imo, modestly can easily be introduced in uniforms. I already mentioned above.

        So it’s more like what you want and what your director wants. This is why I said that your university should be taken exceptionally

        @safi: dude, don’t give examples of other part of the world. In other part of the world people follow many things. We don’t!

      • if modesty could be ensured through uniform, then the girls of our colleges would have been the most modest of all.
        dude you are confused in the difference between good teaching methods and danda.
        i never said that I will be taking an action against something being done in the University. But I do have an opinion and I will talk about it. Secondly, it is just under discussion, nothing is actually being done as yet and I dont think anything will be done for the next few months at least. Telling them the good points of it and convincing them about it is the only way out. If danda could work, people would not have been protesting on the roads today

      • Which example did I give of the “other” part of the world buddy?

        I m talking about Karachi Pakistan! As for the We dont…. Do we do worse things than they do!

        Lets stick to uniforms, Dude at my university where there was a uniform, we had more class segregation than say NED or FAST or Bahria. You dont blur the line between rich and the poor with a uniform! Hell even you cant blur any lines in the armed forces where they have a STRICT uniform. Uniform is a ruse of the 19th century which we are catching up to in this day and age!

        Believe me uniform is not a solution if you want to depict unity. uniform only shows the short sightedness of the administration. And I m talking about a Pakistani administration.

        Ok let me tell you what uniforms do promote if you would be enforcing a uniform. And I m talking about the good things about them. They promote The task at hand rather than appearance. They promote single mindedness and purpose. They promote pride and a sense of belonging. these are just a few. But sadly, uniforms these days are not incorporated to insinuate these notions… In fact they are used to insinuate those notions which are counter-productive to any environment.

        And sorry, if you are imposing uniforms for modesty then you are COMPLETELY wrong! Why? because uniforms come from the armed forces culture and their uniforms are to show pride and sense of belonging which are poles apart to humility and generality (i.e modesty).

        So in other words our concept of uniforms is wrong!

      • @safi: not me but leena is willing. I will ask you again to read her all comments including main post.

        “good teaching methods and danda”

        how will u make sure good teachings re being followed?

        there is nothing wrong in Danda as long as it brings out something good. The concept of Hell itself is ane xample of DANDA by Allah otherwise do you think Allah’s words and rules are not good enough to be followed?

  3. thanks for the visit πŸ™‚ it sure is great to see karachiwalis in my space and obviously agreeing with a karachiwali herself πŸ˜€

    ohh bte if i were to have a kid today, she will stick to my rules of clothing. cuz today peer pressure gets too much on children. they are goin insane with the trying to be westerized or a lil of something they arent…
    parents are not as strict they were too..
    i recall my dad with a danda even now if my shalwar goes a lil off the length required!

    • welcome to the blog seher.
      I never had a danda on me….i was one difficult kid with sooooo many questions. I always wanted the answer to one ‘why’ or the other πŸ˜› I needed to be convinced…convince me and I’l do anything. I dont think there’s anything wrong in being westernized, we just need to tell the kids the various aspects of western society which need to copied: like their punctuality, their progress and all.

  4. interesting topic…
    when i joined Bahria they had a uniform but still there were those rebels..girls experimenting with the length of shirts,width of duppattaz & boys defying the buttons and cuffs.sporting tattoos, pierced ears n eyebrows.
    then two months later, in mid 2007 Bahria aborted uniforms. and we got famous for our “environment”..uff Bahrians are known for their extreme fashion sense in Islamabad…i have literally seen outsiders on “guided” tour of our campus ogling at girls (i caught a family friend myself) at our uni things went from bad to worse after the uniforms…
    so far as teachers setting an example is concerned,,dont you think its a bit late for that, at the university stage? school level, students are in their formative years, they can be guided without use of force but later on the overall inclination to observe modesty or to expose oneself is largely a matter of conscious choice n mature behaviour..which can not be changed with force

  5. @ Ummi
    I never said that modesty can taught through uniforms. In fact you got the whole point completely wrong. I am saying the opposite. I said there are people at my University who think modesty can be achieved through uniforms while I dont think so. So please read carefully.
    Secondly, Allah will use Hell once we have done wat we want to do. He sent 124,000 peophets to tell us wat we should be doing and left it as an option for us to choose wat path we should take. If Allah wanted to use a danda, he would not have given us a brain to decide, no revelations, no prophets. The concept of Hell is only there because Allah wants us to make good choices for ourselves.
    Finally, Who do u think has been the best teacher ever? Prophet Mohammed (SAW) obviously. He never had a danda on anyone, there were people who folowed him and there were those who did not. Things dont work with a danda.
    And yea, you are out of points so stop arguing just for the sake of arguing.

    @ Pinky
    Thats wat I am saying, its a personal choice! And its never too late, good things can be learned at any stage of life.

  6. My father is very fond of telling us an incident from his student days. He was being interviewed by a highly respected professor at the Punjab University, for admission… or maybe it was just after admission, I am not sure. Anyway, the interview started something like this:

    Professor: How do you spell your name in English?
    My father: M – A – T – E – E – N.
    Professor: I am glad you use double E instead of an I. Now, gentleman, (he pointed to the button below the collar button of my father’s shirt) button your shirt, please.

    My father always narrates this encounter when he sees some teenager dressed in a “waahiyaat manner“, uniform or no uniform.

    My point? It’s much more important to “discipline” your students to dress properly, instead of forcing them to dress identically.

    By the way, my father is a fan of uniforms in schools and colleges (or high schools, if you prefer); and an even larger fan of proper, modest dressing in universities and offices. I agree with him on the latter, and disagree with him on the former. He argues that a uniform instantly makes one recognize that the student walking down the road belongs to which institution. He also says that back in his day, students would love to put on their institution’s blazers and show off, say, the sports color that they had earned. On the other hand, he admits that times have changed, but still insists that a young man going to the university should be dressed properly. (His definition of ‘properly’ does not include ‘casual’, and I disagree with him here as well. Of course, it doesn’t mean that I advocate bermuda-shorts in classrooms — there’s a difference between ‘casual’ and ‘careless’).

    Anyway, I just thought to check Wikipedia on this, and I found something interesting. To quote from the study referenced in that article, “student uniforms have no direct effect on substance use, behavioral problems, or attendance”.

  7. @ Saadat
    precisely my point. Dressing identically will not teach em anything other than being rebellious. Its more important to dress properly and its the duty of parents and teachers to help students achieve that. As in I dont mind if my students wear jeans to the classroom unless and until its the ultra low rise jeans which gets indecent. I, infact, tell such students to leave the classroom immediately.

  8. There are three points which have hit me most:

    Leena: Uniform destroys individuality.
    Ummi: Uniform brings discipline and it helps in lessening the inferiority complex among poor.
    Safiullah: Uniform does not prepare the graduates for the world they are about to enter, which is almost without rules.

    -Agreed; your dress reflects your personality. Your way of dressing is an unsaid mode of presenting yourself in front of the world.

    -We had white shalwar kameez and white duppata as our uniform. I do remember that rich girls were used to wear embroidered white uniforms of expensive fabrics. I hated when girls discussed how much expensive their uniforms were. Although I wished to wear such dresses too but I never insisted my mother on it. I knew somewhere that my dressing might have been hurt some girls as others’ dressing had hurt me. My point is that schools and universities should observe uniform only when they could make it implement perfectly.

    -Wholeheartedly agreed. I started dressing at my own when I entered the post-graduation. After five years (two years of my post-graduation and three years of my working), I feel like I am getting better in dressing NOW. It should have been done quite before I started the job. And I don’t know how much time I would take to be dressed modestly πŸ˜€

    BTW it’s my first ever comment on your blog and I am planning to glue you forever πŸ™‚

  9. @ Rebellion Crap
    first of all, welcome to the blog. hope to keep seeing you around πŸ˜€ It always feels good to have more girls on board πŸ˜‰

    @ Safi
    thats the art of articulation which we both lack. Saadat said so easily wat we had been trying to say for so long πŸ˜›

  10. Thankfully I’ve never had to wear a uniform but if I had to I’d be strongly opposed to it, I do believe it would stifle creativity and individuality (especially for art students who crave the space to explore their looks). I taught in a school that had uniforms before and oh boy it was difficult to remember all the students because for weeks they all looked the same to me!

    Interesting comment about the abayas, I’ve observed some of my hijabi students who wear their hijab in such a way as to get attention (the wrong kind of attention) and dress a lot more “sluttier” you could say then some of the nonhijabi female students!

  11. the way every one is opposing uniform it seems that the uniform is root of all evil and those who do not wear uniforms are exceptionally good! is it like that?

    if it is like that the army and many other institutes should not have a uniform.

    @Anas: some villager might suggest Lungi Banyan? every one is sharing his ‘wish list’

  12. Ummi ! it’s not that we are against uniform. But tell me can any administration of school or college ensure a perfect implementation of uniform? We would have rebels in either case.

    I think schools must observe uniforms but colleges and unis should be exempted from it.

  13. Armed forces have uniforms for a completely different reason, and military institutions are poles apart from academic institutions and their influences should also be kept at bay from the other which unfortunately is prevalent in Pakistan.

  14. @ Anas
    wat do u wear to uni? πŸ˜›

    @ liya
    welcome to the blog πŸ™‚

    @ Ummi
    we are not talking about military here….we are talking about civilians

    @ RC
    agreed, completely!

    @ Safi
    yehan tou military her cheez main tang arati hai πŸ˜›

  15. What a colourful array of views! I don’t have anything else to add except, all said and done, each of you is right in your own regard.

    At the end of the day, there is a need for balance.

    Good job, L.S. πŸ˜‰

  16. Tum school uniform ko ro rahi ho – me, Safi and SAWJ lived with uniforms through University! Man! The Captains Division? They used to check your hair, shoes, socks, your ‘name tally’! DAMN! My feet are too broad at the toes to fit into Oxford-style shoes, so I had to bunk all those divisions and pay the fines! *sigh*

    And I agree with you a one hundred percent! I was really shocked to see girls in tank tops this time in Karachi.. Honestly, it is very, very depressingly shallow.

  17. @ Anas
    dont tell me that u dont even change in the morning!!!

    @ manut
    balance is the key…which we seem to have lost somewhere

    @ Absar
    My sympathies are definitely with you guys πŸ˜› checking hair at uni is totally insane! and as is the trend these days, lets go and have a dharna against the captains division (watever it is) in front of ur uni πŸ˜‰

    @ safi & anas
    wat is the captain’s division?

    @ Gaia
    i can so imagine that!

  18. Captain’s Division is held once a month. It’s a sort of assembly or parade of Naval officers in which the Commanding Officer checks their performance and appearance, etc.

    Hope I got the description right.

  19. @ Senilius
    I dont think I’l get the spelling of Senilius correct every time!
    waise I am sure Absar didnt see girls wearing tank tops in Dolmen Mall Hyderi….dekhi bhi hon gi tou they must have been models posing for Crossroads or Outfitters perhaps πŸ˜‰

    @ Anas
    why not!

    @ Absar
    mujhey bhi batao!!! πŸ˜›

  20. Getting to University implies a desire to learn, and thus the need for discipline in an authoritatian manner – uniform being one method – would be omitted.

    So long as they aren’t walking about wearing inappropriate clothes (cue some of photo’s of the uni students here! Argh…) then they can turn up wearing matching earrings with bangles and chappals or spangly abayah’s.

    But yah whats up the capri pants in Pak? Might as well shorts!

    • @ Sumera
      precisely, it is important to tell the students that they need to take pride in their institution and that they represent their institution everywhere. Once they know that, I dont think they would be dressing up inappropriately. Secondly, if we think that uniform should be compulsory at universities, it should also be compulsory at offices for similar reasons.

      @ Taha
      welcome to the blog, hope to keep seeing u around πŸ™‚

  21. This is albeit *interesting* to say the least.
    Uniforms or not, modesty has become a relative term. People of today relate to it accordingly and retreat when reasoned with ‘logic’.
    We are far too much consumed in tangibility and money-worshipping.
    Sadly Modesty is outdated and not in fashion.

    PS: your blog is a real healthy read.

  22. Suppose that would depend on what is considered appropriate garb – personally if in Pak, I don’t see a problem with the traditional attire to attend Uni in, even if it is banarsi printed or heavily embroidered with matching accessories. It’d be OTT thats true. Less is more people! But ultimately each to their own. We don’t want Uni’s to reinforce a uniform – a dress code however would be suitable, but not a uniform!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s