IIT Hyderabad students say no to graduation gowns, wear Pochampalli capes


Prof Deepak Mathew (centre) with IIT Hyderabad students at the convocation. (Handout image)

Instead of the regular black graduation gowns, students of IIT Hyderabad (IITH) at their recent convocation paid tributes to local weavers by wearing Pochampalli ‘capes’ made by them.

Prof Deepak Mathew, head of the department of design at the institute, had, a few months ago, made the proposal that black graduation gowns be discarded for what he called a “cross between a stole and a cape, held in place with a button” made by weavers at Pochampalli village in Telangana (where IITH is located). The regular practice till this year has been to rent gowns from local suppliers, each costing Rs 450. Costs of the woven pieces were approximately the same but this time the students got these as a keepsake.

Mathew, who has also worked with the National Institute of Design, has previously engaged the Pochampalli weavers in classroom projects and has documented their craft. For the convocation he had to work with them to get the IITH logo woven into the fabric. Known for their fabulous Pochampalli saris or ikat (a tie and dye weave) the weavers dye the warp and weft threads to create designs and patterns on fabric.

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