In Assam’s Tezpur town, a 19-year-old student who showed up in shorts for an entrance exam was forced to drape a curtain around her legs in order to sit for the exam. The event occurred on Wednesday, when Jublee Tamuli appeared on the admission test for the Assam Agricultural University (AAU) in Jorhat.
She and her father drove from their native Biswanath Chariali to Tezpur, 70 kilometres away, in the morning to be on time for the exam. According to Jublee, there was no hitch when she reached the exam location at Girijananda Chowdhury Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (GIPS). The trouble began in the exam hall.
She said that there was no indication of a clothing code on the admission card. ‘A few days ago, I appeared for the NEET exam in the same town, wearing the exact same attire – nothing happened. Neither does the AAU have any rules about shorts, nor was there anything mentioned in the admit card. How was I to know?’
Her objections were ignored and she was informed she couldn’t take the exam. ‘I went crying to my father who was waiting outside. Finally, the Controller of Exams said I could take the exam if a pair of pants could be arranged. So my father rushed to the market to buy one,’ she said.
In the meantime, Jublee said she was losing valuable time and feeling extremely harassed. Her father Babul Tamuli sourced a trouser from a market about 8 km away only to be told that the problem had been resolved: Jublee had been given a curtain to cover her legs.
‘They claimed I wouldn’t thrive in life if I didn’t have fundamental common sense,’ Jublee said, adding that it was totally unjust. She explained, ‘They did not check for Covid protocols, masks or even temperature, but they checked for shorts.’
Jublee described the incident as the ‘worst embarrassing experience of my life,’ and said she intends to write to Assam Education Minister Ranoj Pegu about it.
Dr Abdul Baquee Ahmed, principal of GIPS, said he was not present in college, but was ‘informed that such an event had occurred.’
‘We do not have anything to do with the exam – our college was just hired as a venue for the exam. Even the invigilator in question was from outside. There is no rule about shorts, but during an exam, it is important that decorum be maintained. Parents should also know better,’ he said.