Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Liberty of Clothes and Countries

There was a rather ‘interesting rules’ list being circulated at an Engineering College, which my friend kindly forwarded to me a while back, to inquire of (or should I say, instigate), my opinion. As I read through the list, I realised that it only became weirder, with every point. It raised a very important and pertinent question to me- ‘What the hell are these girls supposed to wear?

Illustration: Satwik Gade (
If we concentrate a little, we notice that jeans, leggings, tight pants, tops and short kurtis have all been discredited real fast. Fine, Repeated Offenders these days. But further, it goes on, to ban Patialas, Anarkalis, short dupattas, and ‘baniyan like pants’ (whatever that is) as well. Skirts- both short and long wouldn’t have possibly made their approved list either, I presume. So, this really did get me thinking about the logic behind this excessiveness.

Click on image to expand
India is, at present, one of the fastest growing nations in the world and is predicted to possibly overtake every other nation as the world’s largest economy in about 30 years. India is also, like all adolescents, searching for her identity. She is going through the confusing rebellion phase all teenagers go through, where they rebel against everything that there is. She is fighting the complex battle of living up to the legacy of THE BIG BROTHER, whilst not giving up her own individuality. But now, the teenage years are slowly starting to fade and the wonder years (Ah, the carefree early 20s) are setting in. The skills learnt in this phase, the steps taken here will influence her and affect her for life.  People, now, need to think more clearly and calmly. A lot of work needs to be done. Mind you, we as a nation have no dearth of talent. We are greatness waiting to happen.

 But that is where the problem lies. We are bogged down by so many issues that it would drive the best of psychologists insane; the major being the difficulty in adapting to changing times (due to a word limit, I shall not mention the rest). So, the question remains, should we take the saffron way or hold on to the British ways of life as an ideal?

Well, the answer to this question is not a black or white one. India need not SAFEGUARD anything by force. There are certain things unique to our culture, like joining our palms to greet Namaste, which we should not be ashamed of, and can hold on to. But other redundant conservatives, like prejudice against working women, that need to go. Again, newer concepts, conducive to the time we live in, like friendships between genders, should be accepted. It’s an individual choice, rather than a collective decision.

As time passes, we clean out our cupboards, so why not our thoughts and beliefs? As Abraham Lincoln so eloquently puts it- “The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty and we must rise to the occasion. As our case is new, we must think anew and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country.”

I realise a lot has been left unsaid here and I shall continue it in my next article. While I take your leave, I leave you with this: the perfect wardrobe, for these College Children with Constraints:
  1. Salwar Kameez- Mind you, it should be two sizes too big for you. Only then does it qualify? And full sleeves. Nothing else will do. And Dupattas pinned up of course.
  2. Sarees- with blouses that have neck high collar, full sleeves and go all the way down your hips. (After all, we cannot have skin show, it's indecent you know. No sir!)
  3. Full-size Victorian gowns- with all the paraphernalia for protection against rapes and sexual harassment (Refer to Keira Knightly, in ‘The Duchess’). The clothes are so complicated that rapists will just give up.
  4. Maybe a Daawaani- a la Deepika Padukone in ‘Chennai Express’.
  5. Burkhas- for all, two sizes too big and conducive to all that we assume our culture stands for.

(P.S: I have no problems with Indian Clothes. I love my salwars, patialas, and kurtis. What I don’t like is the forceful ‘covering’ of female identity, just because men cannot ‘control themselves’. Maybe like potty training, this too, should be taught compulsorily and practiced regularly for best results? Food for Thought.)

Written by Shreya Srinivasan
A person of varied interests, with a possible ADHD that went unnoticed as a child. A gypsy philosopher looking for her place and space in the world. Admittedly a little odd at first, but then, you have to be odd to be number one.
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