Headline June 17, 2017/ ''' CLOTHES CROWN CULTURE '''


THE PURE DELIGHT IS   -that clothing not only affects confidence and mood, but right at the top surface conveys a unique message.

The message is not only about cultural identity but in recent years in many countries like, Pakistan,  it has taken on a polarising political message. 

Rather than between traditional and Western clothes it has become between Western and   'Islamic'   clothing. However, there is a return not to burqa but hijab, not pagri  but  Kaffiyeh, writes research author professor D Kazi 

Cultural identity was first displaced by colonisation, followed  by consumerism, urbanisation  and again by the  current politics of religion, Where that challenge was embodied in the past in the Khadi movement-

Ghandhi's langotee or the Ali brothers's cloak and crescent cap, today it's a rootless drift between  anode and cathode. One cannot be unmindful because as Karen J. Pine writes:

''When we put on a piece of clothing we cannot help but adopt some of the characteristics associated with it, even as we are unaware of it.'' 

KANISHKA, THE  HEADLESS WARRIOR, is the name given to a fragment of a stone relief from the  2nd century AD, depicting the Kushan King..

He was wearing a knee length tunic and trousers gathered at the ankle, new to a religion where clothing was of unstitched cloth.

Later years, after the arrival of  Muslim dynasties, saw the evolution of a dazzling array of finely stitched clothing   -the angharka  and  sherwani, peshwaz, farshi pajama that reached its pinnacle in the Mughal courts.

Men wore layers of embroidered  silk garments with intricate necklaces, bejewelled armbands earrings and rings, intricately fashioned turbans and embroidered shoes. They were fanned with Peacock feathers.

Rural communities and tribes had their own district form of carefully classified styles of clothing and turbans. 

Not only did you recognize a a man's tribe by his turban, beard and moustache,  but also the place he occupied in his tribe.

Clothing has been seen both as identity or signifying inclusion in a group of people, as well as exclusion of those outside the group.

Once in the  departure lounge of the Dubai airport waiting for a flight to Karachi,  I was acutely aware that this dishevelled motley cloud of tired travellers that I saw there bore no resemblance to the heritage of elegant clothing and style the region was known for.

The only time they are likely to be stylishly dressed was at a wedding or while celebrating the Eid honours and festival.  

What happened to the elegance of the everyday  -to body language that carried the flow of the river, the swell of the desert dune and and the stature of the mountains? 

How did start wearing rolled up trousers, tucked up shalwars, and generic black sadri waistcoats?

Women have still kept traditional clothing alive in its classical and or contemporary evolutions, not only for special occasions but in daily life. But by and large with the exception of cultural crusaders such as-

Yusuf B Quersihi, men gave up their  pagris their angarkhas and most certainly the jewels, necklaces and earrings.

In South Asia, the obvious reason was the downfall of the Moughal and other regional kingdoms, and the unravelling of the social and cultural ecology by the British colonisers-

*It is the natural response for the courtiers and the upper classes   -male and female-  to adopt the dress, language and manners of the rulers in vogue*.

Muslim rule introduced the  Persian language and fashions of the court quickly filtered through to the many kingdoms that made up India.

The English added to that a policy designed by Macaulay as a solution to the administrative problem of a handful of British officers managing a huge nation.

The creation of an administration that must necessarily adopt the values and systems of the rulers naturally led to the adoption of not just language but also dress code and manners. In fact, the British would have preferred not to try to adopt the dress code.  

This was not unique of postcolonial societies but a global trend. Beginning with the French Revolution when it was prudent to dress down there was a general sobering of a men's wear.

The puritans who made the journey across the Atlantic to escape new liberalism of Europe adopted a distinct style of clothing. Beau Brummel epitomised the transition from lavish to subtle stylishness.    

However, by the Victorian era, religious modesty and austerity was imposed on both men and women because of rising middle-class values, the pragmatic needs of professional lives and to impose colonial authority.

The period between the World Wars saw the establishment of The Great Male Renunciation  in 1930. Established by the psychoanalyst John Flugel, of the  Dress reform Party encouraged men to give up adornment.

The war, the world over,  was a sobering experience and masculinity and readiness for action became the focus. The world of men's fashion had changed. Men must be men, and women must be women.

For Proud Pakistan, post independence, this, -the above world was in which it found itself. 

While there was a return to local languages and to some extent local styles of clothing, there was no return to bejewelled clothing and elaborate turbans.

As we looked to following the model of the modern industrialised state, there was the continued adoption of first British and then American clothing styles as they evolved-

From three piece suits  to shorts  -and  T-shirts.

With respectful dedication to the Students, Professors and Teachers of the World. See Ya all on !WOW! -the World Students Society and.................. Twitter-!E-WOW!   -the Ecosystem : 2011:

''' Mankind & Trajectories '''

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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