Q. 65.0( 2 Votes )

What were the new cl

Answer :

During the colonial period there were significant changes in male and female clothing in India. On the one hand this was a consequence of the influence of Western dress forms and missionary activity; on the other it was due to the effort by Indians to fashion clothing styles that embodied an indigenous tradition and culture. Cloth and clothing in
fact became very important symbols of the national movement. A brief look at the nineteenth century changes will tell us a great deal about the transformations of the twentieth century. When western-style clothing came into India in the nineteenth century, Indians reacted in three different ways:
1. Many, especially men, began incorporating some elements of western-style clothing in their dress. The wealthy Parsis of western India were among the first to adapt Western-style clothing. Baggy trousers and the phenta (or hat) were added to long collarless coats, with boots and a walking stick to complete the look of the gentleman. To some, Western clothes were a sign of modernity and progress. Western-style clothing was also especially attractive to groups of dalit converts to Christianity who now found it liberating. Here too, it was men rather than women who affected the new dress styles.
2. There were others who were convinced that western culture would lead to a loss of traditional cultural identity. The use of Western style clothes was taken as a sign of the world turning upside down. The cartoon of the Bengali Babu shown here, mocks him for wearing Western-style boots and hat and coat along with his dhoti.
3. Some men resolved this dilemma by wearing Western clothes without giving up their Indian ones. Many Bengali bureaucrats in the late nineteenth century began stocking western-style clothes for work outside the home and changed into more comfortable Indian clothes at home. Early- twentieth century anthropologist Verrier Elwin remembered that policemen in Poona who were going off duty would take their trousers off in the street and walk home in 'just tunic and undergarments'. This difference between outer and inner worlds is still observed by some men today.

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