‘India is a land of tradition and culture and we should preserve it!’ It is the most abused statement in India. The self proclaimed guardians of culture use this more frequently than an average person bats his/her eye lid. Of course, any sensible soul in India takes this statement with a pinch of caution. Yet caution or otherwise, one aspect where we (the great Indian nation) seem to be seriously lagging behind is the dress code moral.
The women seem to have just ditched all their inhibitions and have got into a frenzy of flesh show! How disgraceful ! Our brethren in certain parts of the world are doing a delightful job by keeping their women under wraps and veils and any slip from that diktat only leads to loss of life. So naturally of course we should follow their footsteps and set an example after all, a society not being protective about its woman-kind is no society at all. After all, as we all know (its elementary, my dear Watson ) that the rising cases of crime in India- rape murder, adultery , political faux pas , psychological enticement- is the result of feminine couture (and at times chow mein as well) .
Well since the since the basic premise is laid bare. let us just consider the options that women (in India) have to save and safeguard their culture as well as their own being .
The ultimate Indian dress for women! It is the benchmark for modesty, morality, respect, femininity and everything that makes an Indian woman decent and respectable and beautiful. Why? Because it covers the lady from top to toe. Wonderful! Lets take a tiny detour, hop into the time machine and travel a few centuries back. The pious Indian women were devoid of blouse and petticoat! Blasphemous but true. They just wrapped around themselves some exotic fabrics called saree. The bad white colonisers- the Britishers- ‘gifted’ the Indian women with the petticoat and the blouse, thereby ‘civilising’ the Indian women . So it’s only with the emergence of the Brits that the licentious women from the ‘land of kamasutra‘ finally got a taste of divinity through righteousness. Just imagine what would have happened to our immodest women if ‘goras’ had never enslaved us !
2. Salwar Kameez
This is the next best modest clothing that women in India opt for. It appropriately covers a lady from head to feet . It is also accompanied by a dupatta which is the extra protective layer to veil a lady’s torso. But another round of time travel will confirm that when the Mughals arrived in India they brought with them their culture of divided garments- salwar kameez / anarkalis / sarara and similar stuff (though identified by other names back then). And since then, salwar-kameez continues to linger in India in all its variations .The recent controversial legging fiasco (if not anything the fashion retard men now know what the hell a ‘legging’ is) is definitely not new. Since past few years the west has been discussing about it; although they are polite enough not to transfer sleaze and voyeurism to cover page news all in the name of preserving culture. So our next modest clothing is also a ‘gift’ from a foreign culture. Unfortunately for our valiant angels of moral conduct this one too is a cross-border affair!
3. Jeans/ Pants & Top/T-shirt
Now this is one is the most bullied of the lot. Worn by a minority few (and before you hit me)…I say minority because it is mostly adopted by the elite and upwardly mobile generations of India -probably the ‘you’s and ‘I’s who are reading this post. [ It is a different story though that jeans was first worn by poor farmers of the west who could not afford to buy clothes at regular frequency.] Now, when the khaki -coloured-shorts-clad upholders of ‘our culture’ speak against women wearing such ‘obscene’ clothing (I am not even taking into account the shorts and minis wearing miniscule sect of female population, they are the damned lot ) can they be kind enough to explain why they opt to flaunt off their visually unappealing legs to an entire nation sporting ‘borrowed'( read European) clothes themselves? So how come their dress code adds grace to the Indian culture while clothes the girls wear borrowed from the same culture in its modest form brings in disgrace?
While men have conveniently ditched dhoti’s / kurta’s (they are now restricted to very special occasions) the women are still struggling with the burden of being the upholder of a culture which has changed a zillion times over the few light years that we have traversed in this ‘land of culture and tradition’. Peeking into a lady’s flying dress and taking snaps while circulating it in publication is not considered to be obscene or disgusting though taking snaps of a man’s flying dhoti or lungi is not even considered. And why not carry out a cover story on how inappropriately men are dressed- fugly , paper thin shorts, low waist jeans revealing unclean undies and equally horrible butt cracks !
I am not being gender biased. If girls are being damned for wearing ‘revealing’ clothes then men must be taught not to hang around without upper garment (this is the most common phenomenon in most Indian households, men inside the domestic space/nearby areas of home are invariably devoid of clothes on top or at best cover themselves with a banyan ). Laws of the land should be equal for all. Our constitution offers freedom of expression within ‘reasonable restrictions’. So if restriction is imposed on one then restriction should be imposed on other.
Indian culture is beautiful . Its veracity lies in its ability to adapt and adopt. Let us not ruin it because a few sycophants cannot appreciate its beauty.
By Dr. K. Pattanayak