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HINDUS

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Originally appearing in Volume V14, Page 421 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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HINDUS.—Caste does not influence dress amongst Hindug as much as might be expected. The garment distinctive of the Hindus of all castes, men and women, all over India, is the dhoti or loin cloth. It is a. very ancient dress, and their gods are represented as clothed in it in old sculptures. The general term used for clothing is kapra, latd or luga. Under Mahommedan influence Hindu clothing developed into " suits," consisting of five pieces for men, hence called poncho tuk kapra—(r) head-dress, (2) dhoti, (3) coat, (4) chaddar or sheet, (5) bathing cloth; and three for women, hence called tin tuk—(r) dhoti,(2) jacket, (3) shawl. Men.—The Hindu (except the Rajput) shaves his head, leaving only a top-knot on the point of the skull. He shaves the face (except the eye-brows) and his body. The Rajput wears a full beard and whiskers, usually parted in the middle. He sometimes draws the beard and whiskers to the side of the head, and to keep it tidy wraps round it a cloth called alibi or galmochd. Head-dress.— Hindus wear sometimes turbans and sometimes caps. When the turban is worn it is always of the pagri form, never the amamah. Hindus wind the pagri in various ways as described for Mussulmans, but the angles are formed over the ears and not from front to back. Mahrattas wear flat red pagris, with a small conical peak variously shaped and placed. The pagri is known in different parts of India as pdg, phenta, phag, phagdi and many other names. In Bengal a sort of turban is worn which can be taken off like a hat. When Hindus wear caps or topis they resemble those worn by Mahommedans, but they never wear the fez, tarbush or irani to pi. In Gaya a peculiar cap made of tal leaves is worn in rainy weather, called ghunga. Bengalis, whether Brahmans or of other castes, frequently go bareheaded. Body Clothing.--The dhoti is a simple piece of cloth (cotton), generally white. It is wound round the loins, the end passed between the legs from front to back and tucked in at the waist behind (Plate II. fig. 2). The small form of dhoti worn by men of the lower class is called langoti. It does not fall below mid-thigh. A Brahman's dhoti, as also that of some other castes, reaches to a little below the knee; a Rajput's to his ankles. The dhoti is known under many names, dhutia, pitambar, lungi, &c. In some parts of India half the dhoti only is wound round the loins, the other half being thrown over the left shoulder. Some upper classes of Hindus wear for coat the kurta; most wear the angharka (Plate II. fig. I), a short anga reaching to the waist. It is also known as kamri, baktari, badan or bandi. Hindus wear the angharkha or anga as Mahommedans do, but whereas theMahommedan has the opening on the left the Hindu wears it on the right. When the kurta is worn it is worn under the anga. The chaddar (chadar or dopatta) is of various kinds. It is a piece of cotton cloth 3 yds. long by r yd. wide. It is worn across the shoulders, or wrapped round the body, but when bathing, round the loins. Hindus, both men and women, wear ear-rings. The Brahminical thread (janeo) (Plate II. fig. 2) is a cord made of twisted cotton prepared with many ceremonies. It is worn over the left shoulder and hangs down to the right hip. It is of three strands till the wearer is married, when it becomes six or nine. It is 96 handbreadths in length, and is knotted. Rajputs also wear this thread, similar in make and length, but the knots are different. Caste and sect marks also distinguish Hindus from each other. Women.—The hair is sometimes worn plaited (choti), usually an odd number of thin plaits made into one large one, falling down the back and fastened at the end with ribbons. Another style is wearing it in a knot after the ancient Grecian fashion; it is always worn smooth in front and parted in the middle. Over the head is worn the orhna or veil. The end is thrown over the left shoulder in such a manner as to conceal the breast. On the upper part of the body the kurta is sometimes worn. A bodice called angiya is worn. This covers the breast and shoulder; it has half sleeves, is very short, and is fastened at the back with strings. The skirt is called lhenga or ghagra. It is worn mostly in Rajputana hanging in full flounces to the knee or a little below. In Bengal, Madras and Bombay Presidencies women do not wear a skirt, only a choli and sari. This last is a long piece of cotton or silk cloth. Half is draped round the waist and hangs to the feet in folds; the remainder is passed over the head and thrown over the left shoulder (Plate II. fig. 4). SIKx.—The Sikh does not shave or cut his hair. The beard is parted in the middle and carried up each side of the face to the top of the head. A piece of cloth called dhata or galmocha is wound round the chin and head so as to keep the hair clean and tidy. The hair of the head is tied into a knot (kes) at the top of the head or at the back, a distinguishing mark of the Sikh. His religion requires the Sikh to carry five articles—kes, the knot of hair on the head; the kanga, a comb; the kard, a knife; the kack, a pair of short trousers peculiar to the Sikh; and the khara, an iron bangle on the wrist. It is de rigueur that he should carry some piece of iron on his person. His head-dress he calls a peg; it is a turban of amamah shape but enormously large. The Sikh nobility and gentry wear two turbans, either both of pagri form or one of pagri and one of amamah form. Each is of a different colour. The Sikh calls his kurta jhagga; it is very large and loose, bound with a scarf round the waist. The leach is a sort of knickerbockers reaching to just below the knee, which they encircle tightly. Over all the Sikh wears the choga. In outlying villages he wears instead of the /atria a chadar or cloth, which he calls khes, on the upper part of his body. Some village Sikhs wear a tahband or waistcloth instead of the leach. Sikhs are fond of jewelry and wear ear-rings. The dress of Sikh women does not differ greatly from that of Hindu women; but in the Sirsa district and some other parts she wears the Mahommedan sutan or trousers, under the lhenga or skirt. There is a small sect of Sikh known as Akali or Nihang. Their dress is entirely of dark blue colour, the turban being also blue, high and pointed; on it are fastened three steel quoits. The quoit was the ancient weapon of the Sikh, who calls it chakar. Certain steel blades are stuck through the body of the turban. The Akalis also wear large flat iron rings round the neck and arms (Plate II. fig. 6). PARsis.—When the Parsis were first admitted into India, certain conditions were imposed upon them by the Hindus; among others they were not to eat beef, and they were to follow the Hindu custom of wearing a top-knot of hair. Old-fashioned Parsis in country districts still follow these customs. To uncover the head is looked upon as a sin; hence Parsis of both sexes always wear some head covering whether indoors or out. In the house the man wears a skull cap; out of doors the older Parsis wear the khoka, a tall hat, higher in front than at the back, made of a stiff shiny material, with a diaper pattern (Plate I. fig. 7). The younger generation adopted a round pith hat with a rolled edge of felt, but, under the influence of the sadeshi movement, they have generally reverted to the older form (Plate I. fig. re)). Next to the skin the Parsi wears a sadra or sacred shirt, with a girdle called kasii. Over the sadra a white cotton coat is worn, reaching to a little below the waist. The Parsi wears loose cotton trousers like a Mussulman. In country districts he wears a jama, and over the :lama a pechodi or shoulder cloth. The young Parsi in Bombay has adopted European dress to a great extent, except as to head-gear. The Parsi woman dresses her hair in the old Greek fashion with a knot behind. She also wears a sadra or sacred shirt. Country Parsis in villages wear a tight-fitting sleeveless bodice, and trousers of coloured cloth. Over all she winds a silken sari or sheet round the body; it is then passed between the legs and the end thrown over the right shoulder. Out of doors she covers her head and right temple (Plate I. fig. 8). In towns the sari is not passed between the legs, but hangs in loose folds so as to hide the trousers. The upper classes wear a sleeved polka jacket instead of the bodice. Parsi children up to the age of seven wear cotton frocks called jabhlan. They wear long white trousers of early Victorian cut, with frills at the bottom. They wear a round cap like a smoking-cap. The little girls wear their hair flowing loose (Plate I. fig. 9). SxoEs.—There is no distinction between the shoes worti by Hindus, Moslems, Sikhs or Parsis, but Hindus will not wear them when made of cow's leather. Shoes are called juta, juti or jute by Mahommedans, and fore or tore by Hindus. Shoes are usually distinguished by the name of the material, as nari led jute, leather shoes, banati jute, felt shoes, and so on. There are innumerable styles of cut of shoe, three being the commonest: (r) Salimshahi, these are shaped like English slippers, but are pointed at the toe, terminating in a thin wisp turned back and fastened to the instep. They are mostly made of thin red leather, plain in the case of poorer people and richly seas; they sailed from Havre in that year and were never afterwards heard of. In 1604 a company was granted letters patent by Henry IV., but the project failed. Fresh letters patent were issued in 1615, and two ships went to India, only one returning. La Corn pagnie des Indes was formed under the auspices of Richelieu (1642) and reconstructed under Colbert (1664), sending an expedition to Madagascar. In 1667 the French India Company sent out another expedition, which reached Surat in 1668, where the first French factory in India was established. In 1672 Saint Thorne was taken, but the French • were driven out by the Dutch and retired to Pondicherry (1674). In 1741 Dupleix became governor of Pondicherry and in 1744 war broke out between France and England; for the remaining history of the French in India see INDIA. See Haurigot, French India (Paris, 1887) ; Henrique, Les Colonies francaises (Paris, 1889); Lee, French Colonies (Foreign Office Report, 1900) ; L'Annee colonsale (Paris, 1900) ; and F. C. Danvers, Records of the India Office (1887). embroidered in the case of rich people. This cut of shoe is most in vogue amongst Moslems. (2) Gol panje ki juti, like English slippers, but rounded at the toes. (3) Ghclld or ndgphani (snake's head) juld, the toe is turned up, while the back part is folded inwards and trodden under the heel. Ladies usually wear shoes of this fashion, known as phiri juti. Women's shoes differ only in size and in being made of finer material, and in being embroidered. Hindu women seldom wear shoes. On the northern frontier the pattern known as the kafslzi is worn; this is a slipper having neither sides nor back; the sole towards the heel is narrow and raised by a small iron-shod heel. In the hills shoes resembling sandals, called chaplis, made of wood, straw or grass are worn. The soles are very thick, and are secured with straps; there is generally a loop for the big toe. They are known as phulkarru in Kashmir, and pule in Kulu and Chamba. Shoes are invariably removed on entering mosques or other holy places. It is also customary to remove them when entering a house. Orientals sit on the floor in preference to chairs; hence it is thought very necessary by them that the carpet should be kept clean, which could not be done were persons to keep their shoes on. While it would be considered a breach of good manners to enter a room with the shoes on, an exception has been made in favour of those natives who have adopted European boots or shoes. The babus of Bengal have taken to English-made shoes of patent leather worn over white socks or stockings.
End of Article: HINDUS
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