19th June every year is celebrated throughout the world as World Ethnic Day and Indian organizations in their bid to emulate other global organizations were more than happy to do their small bit to contribute to this international day. A certain organization that I work for too followed suit, calling upon all their employees to dress to the occasion. Taking cue from the instructions stated in the mail, I wore a white dhoti matching it with a plain red kurta and to complete the attire, I wore a pair of kolhapuri’s (Indian sandals).
Filled with pride in the attire that I was sporting, I took the local (train) early in the morning as a daily routine on my way to my workplace. But today, everything seemed a little different, and it did not take me too long to figure out why.
The whole train compartment filled with office and college-going teenagers suddenly seemed to have witnessed something out of way and to be fair to them, there is hardly anyone wearing a dhoti in a metropolitan city and especially when he or she is going to college or office. What amazed me were the extreme reactions I received throughout the day thereon.
Reaching office, I was greeted to a different scene entirely. While most of the females proudly moved around showcasing their Sarees, hardly any of the males donned true Indian attires. Not that there weren’t any males who weren’t sporting a traditional attire, but most of them happily wore jeans and t-shirt. The traditional attire were mostly Indo-Westerns, Short Kurtas with Polo Pants, Jodhpuri Bandhgalas with Choodidar Pajamas or even Sherwanis. But I was out of place suddenly in the most traditional dress of India on a day aimed to commemorate and honour the traditions of India.
One of the astonished reveler asked – How do you manage to walk in this man?
Another one – Doesn’t this thing fall off?
The Guy in Choodidar asked – Dude have you fixed it with safety pins?
Another guy proclaimed- Dude You overdid it.
This brought a flurry of thoughts in my mind:
Take malgudi days where young swami was seen running around in a dhoti or the iconic superstar Rajnikanth who proudly showcases his lungi tying skills in almost all his films, history has been witness of how kurta-dhoti/lungi have been an integral part of the ancient Hindu civilization, now fast forward to 2017 and one can see how the concept of dhoti/lungi-kurta has entirely vanished from metropolitan cities and is bulldozing its way to the rural areas of India.
People in metros today symbolize a dhoti kurta as an attire of a poor illiterate devoid of the nectar of the western civilization and ideology, not realizing that it even the Raman effect was discovered by Dr. CV Raman (Nobel laureate) wearing a dhoti or that of the master impersonator Chandrashekar Azad or that of our father of the nation, Bapu. The ever-increasing influence of western ideology off lately has been so overpowering that traditional attires like the dhoti-kurta which had been part of the Indian society for centuries together, rapidly vanished in less than 100 years. It is not that the western influence is always bad, but the deliberate attempt of the metropolitan citizens of India trying to overcompensate is downright slaverish. The Indian youth over the last 3 decades in their attempt to modernize and align themselves with the western world have overcompensated to such a great extent that they disconnected themselves from their roots and so much so that, today in 2017 they find wearing dhoti to be an alien concept.
And this feeling of alienation was fuelled to just the right extent by all the left leaning communist and evangelist organisations who through their network of people in the media, government, education system drummed in our heads that Indians and their culture is a culture of savages, their attires that of illiterate nomads. Be it in our school textbooks or in television serials/movies, a calculated narrative has carefully been spun around innocent Indians to make them believe that their culture is inferior while the western civilization is superior. The substitution of Sarees and waist coats by gowns in graduation ceremonies is another example of the imposed western ideology. Hindi is anpad-ganvaar while English is saab-memsaab, Dhoti-kurta is laachar berojgaar but Jeans t-shirt is global citizen.
It is astounding to see how many Indians today are ashamed of their own culture and in order to look like 21st century liberals, ridicule anything that even remotely has its roots to ancient Indian civilization. The narrative created by the Britishers and subsequently continued by the leftist autocrats’ in-charge at the helm of affairs, has been so well structured that most people don’t even realise the slow and steady brainwashing that they are subjected to throughout their lives.
Coming back to Dhoti & Kurta, in a country like India, what better attire can there be considering the hot and humid climate than a Dhoti, Lungi or the Mundu that is worn in the southern states of India or the Galey (similar to dhoti) worn by the Arunachali natives or the Chador/Rigu (Saree like attire) attire of Assam, the Phanek/Sarong of Manipur, the Jainsen worn by the Khasi’s in Meghalaya.
These attires are a part of the treasure we have received as inheritance from our forefathers. The fashion incorporated into our clothing back then was based on comfort and elegance unlike today where people deliberately wear tattered clothes. The attire was designed keeping in mind the needs of the indigenous population rather than foolishly aping the suits, ties and shirts which unfortunately have become a mandatory´formal work clothing´.
While no one has a right to dictate anyone what to wear and eat, it is pertinent that we the citizens of this 21st century India don’t get cut off from our roots in our attempt to catch up with the western countries. With the advent of social media and rising awareness amongst people, a movement to bring the citizens back to their culture be created. The metropolitan cities and the north-eastern states which are sweepingly falling prey to the ills of the western ideology should take cue from the Tamil Nadu and Kerala where the lungi and the mundu still predominate as a form of attire amongst the people at large.
For those who are inspired to wear a dhoti, lungi or a mundu after reading this article but do not know how to tie one, it is very simple and tying instructions are available in plenty on the internet.