Sunday, 23 April 2017


To The Pioneer, which was then owned and edited by Europeans and which had
written deriding his national dress, Gandhiji wrote as follows in its issue of 4th
July, 1917 :
"I wear the national dress because it is the most natural and the most becoming
for an Indian. I believe that our copying of the European dress is a sign of our
degradation, humiliation and our weakness, and that we are committing a
national sin in discarding a dress which is best suited to the Indian climate and
which for its simplicity, art and cheapness, is not to be beaten on the face of
the earth and which answers hygienic requirements. Had it not been for a false
pride and equally false notions of prestige, Englishmen here would have long
ago adopted the Indian costume. . . . I avoid shoes for sacred reasons, but I find
too that it is more natural and healthier to avoid them whenever possible."

Aparna Krishnan and so i switched to sarees in my twenties.
Hema Jain just out of curiosity, how old are sarees?

Aparna Krishnan Hema Jain, how old are sarees meaning ?

Senthil Kumar J How old, like, 500 years?

Aparna Krishnan The years do not matter, not even the history. A culture of a country is the culture as of today - and it in anchored in the details of food. clothing, and myriad rituals. A civilisation needs to feel confident of its culture. Which mans validating its food and clothing. I have from early years deeply admired the arabs for going to international conferances in their white kaftans with confidence. While most Indian beurocrats go in the livery of their colonial masters.

Hema Jain I agree with Lata Sundaram. Adapting to a new/different way of doing something, after thoughtful consideration of all the known-issues involved, is quite beneficial. I have, in the last 2 years, done house construction work and farming related work. I can't imagine doing most of them wearing a saree. In fact, one of our labourer woman was jokingly asking me if I could get her a pair of pants and also ask her husband to "allow" her to wear them.
Aparna Krishnan The issues are different. the concern I have tabled (and also Gandhiji, as I understand) is to stand by a country's cultural basis, as reinforceing that is primary. It is not envirnmental concern (though that is part of the whole concern certianly.). Therefore talking vernacular, wearing vernacular ...

Zulfi Haider Aparna, while i undersand where you are coming from, there can be a fine line between upholding culture and jingoism; between adpating and being inferior minded/lacking confidence. How many people in Govt (the babus not neta) or Corporate sector can imagine going to office in their regional traditional attire? We know the ans, and this has nothing to do with choice or adaption! This is servitude dished our in the garb of "look professionals". In fact the more funny part is to see women "professionals", with their indian bodies in pants and shirts (some carry this attire well but others....well..). At the same time, if we were a confident people, happy in our skins, in our traditions we would not mind wearing pants when working in a farm or construction site, or going hiking, and doning a sari when going to a marriage ceremony, or a payjama or dhoti or Mundu when it is summer or one is likely to sit on the ground. It has been most humiliating for me to speak in english when there are westerners around me who can overhear me......i cringe! ...feel like we have remained slaves and actually chosen to be one. Increasingly i am being left with no people with whom to speak in hindi/urdu ! No one wants to ! Sab angrez ban chuke hain!
Aparna Krishnan Zulfi, there is superficial similarity between what Gandhiji says, and what RSS says, but no two philosophies could be further apart. Similarly for us to defend our rootedness from charges of jingoism is a waste of time. The most openness comes only from the deepest rootedness. Gandhi,"“I do not want my house to be walled in on all sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the culture of all lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any”"
Aparna Krishnan And our schooling completed our westernisation, and a concommitent loss of indianness. Your IIT did more damage I am sure ! All we can say in our defence today is that we are able to see and cringe. Many who have walked this path, far from cringeing, feel superior to the real Indians, vernacular in language and dress and practices, because of some degrees from some so-called elite institutions. The more elite, the more the resulting alienation in my observation.

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