Belly dance show at IIT Bombay, Enquiry demanded

Religious leaders are strongly critical of the reported belly dance show at recent freshers’ orientation event at prestigious Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IITB). The reports suggest that dancing girls swung and gyrated their hips and had bared midriffs.

Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, terming it “highly inappropriate”, asked: “Where does belly dance fit in with the ‘Gnayanam Paramam Dheyam’ (Knowledge is the Supreme Goal) motto of IITB”.

Zed, who is the President of Universal Society of Hinduism, asked for launching a thorough enquiry into this episode and a public apology from IITB Director Devang V. Khakhar.

Belly dance might be appropriate at a nightclub, entertainment channel, discotheque, bachelor party; but exposing teenagers to it at the freshmen orientation of an institution funded by taxpayer’s money was a misguided approach and sent wrong signals, Rajan Zed argued.

“TheFreeDictionary” defines “belly dance” as “a sensuous and provocative dance… performed by women, with undulating movements of the hips and abdomen” and “” describes it as a “dance in which the dancer makes sensuous movements of the hips and abdomen”.

IITB in Powai (Mumbai, India), established in 1958 and set up by an Act of Parliament which declared it as an institute of national importance, is now recognized as one of the centers of academic excellence in the country. Its vision is: To be the fountainhead of new ideas and of innovators in technology and science. Chairman of Atomic Energy Commission Dr. Anil Kakodkar is Chairman of its Board of Governors and Professor Prakash Gopalan is Dean Student Affairs. Its Board of Governors and “Institute Functionaries” listed on its website apparently are all men.

Notable IITB alumni include digital technology pioneer Arun Netravali, Harvard Business School dean Nitin Nohria, politicians Manohar Parrikar and Jairam Ramesh, businessman Kanwal Rekhi and entrepreneur Nandan Nilekani.

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