Wayanad Auto drivers fight for their rights to wear ‘mundu’
Kerala is indeed a land of paradoxes! While the State Government is striving hard to promote khadi and the regional attire of ‘mundu’ among Government employees and the general public, the case has not been so in other sectors.
Recently the Police and autorickshaw drivers in the pictersque district of Wayanad got embroiled in what could be called a ‘mundu’ row,. The Drivers’ unions are resisting the move to enforce a dress code for drivers, which will prevent them from wearing the traditional mundu to work. The auto drivers feel that this directive, which will be in force from the 1st of June is nothing short of an infringement on their rights and a tight slap on the face of those of try to promote Kerala culture.
The unions have decided to air their grievance and to protest the decision by making all their members, mainly autorickshaw drivers, wear the traditional Kerala dress. They warn that they may resort to tough measures including taking their vehicles off the roads if the police went on with the implementation of the code.
Police however said the decision was taken in view of the immodest dressing followed by mundu-clad auto drivers, who often walk around with the dhotis tied high up the waist, causing discomfort to lady passengers and families. The police want the auto drivers to stick to the uniform of Khaki pants and they plan to impose a fine on those who break this law.
In most Kerala villages including those in Wayanad, a majority of drivers still wear mundu to work and some of them are so accustomed to this dressing style that it might be a difficult for them to switch to pants. While the mundu controversy continues to simmer discontent among the auto drivers in the higher altitudes of Wayanad, the women commuters have welcomed this move as they feel that very often they are caught in an embarrassing situation on roads and also while travelling in an auto.
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