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Originally appearing in Volume V14, Page 419 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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INDIAN COSTUME Personal attire in India so far resembles a uniform that a resident can tell from a garb alone the native place, religion and social standing of the wearer. This is still true, though the present facility of intercommunication has had its effect in tending to assimilate the appearance of natives. Together with costume it is necessary to study the methods of wearing the hair, for each race adopts a different method. The population of India, of which the main divisions are religious, falls naturally into four groups, (i) Mahommedans, (2) Hindus, (3) Sikhs, (4) Parsees. To these may be added II aboriginal races, such as Bhils, Sonthals, Gonds, &e., whose costume is chiefly noticeable; from its absence. Mahommedan Men.— Apart from the two sects, Sunnis and Shias, whose garb differs in some respects, there are four families of Moslems, viz. Pathans, Moguls, Syeds and Sheiks. The first came to India with Sultan Mahmud Ghaznavi in A.D. 1002; the second are of Tatar origin and came to India with Baber; the Syeds claim descent from Mahomet, while Sheiks comprise all other Mussulmans, including converted Hindus. It is now no longer possible to distinguish these families by their turbans as was formerly the case. Hair.—In the hadis, or traditional sayings of Mahomet other than those to be found in the Koran, it is laid down that the head is to be shaved and the beard to be allowed to grow naturally to " a legal " length, i.e. 7 or 8 in. long. This is known as fitrah or the custom of prophets. The beard is frequently dyed with henna and indigo for much the same reasons as in Europe by elderly men; this is entirely optional. The wearing of whiskers while shaving the chin was a Mogul fashion of the 17th and 18th centuries and is now seldom seen except among Deccani Mahommedans. The mustachios must not grow below the line of the upper lip, which must be clearly seen; a division or parting is made below the nose. The lower lip is also carefully kept clear. Hair under the arms or elsewhere on the body except the breast is always removed. Mahommedan clothing for indoor wear consists of three pieces: (a) Head-dress, (b) body-covering, (c) covering for the legs. Head-dress.—This is of two kinds: the turban and the cap. The former is chiefly worn in northern India, the latter in Oudh and the United Provinces. What is known in Europe as a turban (from the Persian sarband, a binding for the head) is in India divided into two classes. The first, made of a single piece of cloth 20 to 30 in. wide and from 6 to 9 yds. long, is bound round the head from `right to left or from left to right indifferently and quite simply, so as to form narrow angles over the forehead and at the back. This form is called amamdh (Arabic), dastar (Persian), shimla or shamld, safa, lungi, seld, rumal, ordopatta. The terms amdmdh and dastdr are used chiefly with reference to the turbans of priests and ulema, that is learned and religious persons. They are usually white; formerly Syeds wore them of green colour. They are never of bright hue. The lungi is made of cloth of a special kind manufactured mostly in Ludhiana. It is generally blue and has an ornamented border. In the case of Pathans and sometimes of Punjabi Moslems it is bound round a tall red conical cap called a kulfah (Plate I. fig. 1): The ends are frequently allowed to hang down over the shoulders, and are called shimla or shamla, terms which also apply to the whole head-dress. The names sofa, sela, . umal and dopdtta are sometimes given to this' form of turban. The sela is gaudier and More ornamental generally; it is worn by the nobles and wealthier classes." The second form of the turban is known as the pagri.1 This head-dress is of Hindu origin but is much worn by Mahommedans. It is a single piece of cloth 6 to 8 in. wide, and of any length from 1 o to 50 yds. The methods of binding the pagri are innumerable, each method having a distinctive name as arabi (Arab fashion); mansabi (official fashion, much used in the Deccan); mushakhi (sheik fashion); chakridar (worn by hadjis, that is those who have made the pilgrimage to Mecca); khirki-ddr (a fashion of piling the cloth high, adopted by retainers of great men); latuddr (top-shaped, worn by kayasths or writers); joridar (the. cloth twisted into rope shape) (Plate I. fig. 6); siparali ( shield-shaped, worn by the Shia sect) ; murassa, or nastdlikh (ornately bound), latpati (carelessly bound) (Plate I. fig. 4). Many other fashions which it would be difficult to describe can best be learned by studying pictures with the help of. a competent teacher. The chira is a pagri of checked cloth. The mandil is of gold or highly ornamented cloth; it is worn by nobles and persons of distinction. The cap or topi is not bound round the head, but is placed ' This has been Englished by Anglo-Indians into " puggaree " or " pugree " and applied to a scarf of white cotton or silk wound round a hat or helmet as a protection against the sun.upon it. It is made of cut and sewn cloth. Some varieties are dopallari, a skull-cap; kishtinumd, or boat-shaped cap; galtopi, a round cap of the kind known in England as " pork-pie "; bezwi, or egg-shaped cap; sigoshid, or three-cornered cap; chaugoshia, or four-cornered cap; tajdar, or crown-shaped cap; &c. Many other caps are named after the locality of manufacture or some peculiarity of make, e.g. Kashmire-kitopi; jhalarddr, fringed cap, &c. A form of cap much worn in Bengal and western India is known as Irani kulldh, or Persian cap. It is made of goatskin and is shaped like a tarbush but has no tassel. The cap worn in cold weather is called top, to pa, or kantop (ear-cover) (Plate I. fig. 2); these are sometimes padded with cotton. Caps are much worn by Mussulmans of Delhi, Agra, Lucknow and other cities of the United provinces. The tarbush or turki-topi was introduced into India by Sir Sayyid Ahmad (Plate I. fig. 3). It must not be confused with the Moorish " fez," which is skull-shaped. The tarbush is of Greek origin and was adopted by Sultan Mahmud of Turkey in the early part of the 19th century. To remove the head-dress of whatever kind is, in the East, an act of discourtesy; to strike it off is a deep insult. Clothing. :The following rules from the hadith or traditional sayings of the prophet are noteworthy:—" Wear white garments, for verily they are full of cleanliness, and pleasant to the eye." " It is lawful for the woman of my people to clothe herself in silken garments, and to wear ornaments of gold; but it is forbidden to man: any man who shall wear silken garments in this world, shall not wear them in the next." " God will not be merciful to him who through vanity wears long trousers " (i.e. reaching below the ankle). The foregoing rules are now only observed by the ultra-orthodox, such'as the Wahabi sect and by ulemas, or learned elderly men. The Mogul court of Delhi, especially during. the reign of Mahoinmed Shah, nick-named Rangila or the " dandy," greatly influenced change in these matters. Coloured clothing, gold ornaments and silken raiment began to be wqrn commonly by Mussulman men in his reign. For the upper part of the body the principal article of clothing is the aria. The Persian name for this is pairahen and the Arabic kamis, whence " chemise." This kurtd is the equivalent for the shirt of Europe. It is usually of white cotton, and has the opening or gala in front, at the back, or on either side in-differently. It was formerly fastened with strings, but now with the ghundi (the old form of button) and tukmah or loop. In southern India, Gujarat and in the United Provinces the kurta is much the same as to length and fit as the English shirt; as the traveller goes northward from Delhi to the Afghan border he sees the kurta becoming longer and looser till he finds the Pathan wearing it almost to his ankles, with very full wide sleeves. The sleeves are everywhere long and are sometimes fastened with one or two buttons at the wrist. Mussulmans always wear some form of trousers. They are known as izdr (Arabic) or pa'ejdma2 (Persian). This article of clothing is sometimes loose, sometimes tight all the way, sometimes loose as far as the knee and tight below like Jodhpur riding breeches. They are fastened round the waist with !a scarf or string called kamarband (waistband) or izdrband, and are usually of white cotton. The varieties of cut are sharai or canonical, orthodox, which reach to the ankles and fit as close to the leg as European trousers; rums or ghararedar, which reach to the ankles but are much wider than European trousers (this pattern is much worn by the Shias); and tang or chase, reaching to the ankles, from which to the knee they fit quite close. When this last kind is " rucked " at the ankle it is called churiddr (Plate I. fig. 4). They are sometimes buttoned at the ankle, especially in the Meerut district. The shalwdr pattern, 2 Anglicized as " pyjamas " (in America "pajamas "), the term is used of a form of night-wear for men which has now generally superseded the night-shirt. This consists of a loose coat and trousers of silk, wool or other material; the trousers are fastened by a cord round the waist. very large round the waist and hanging in folds, is worn by unmarried ones. In Kashmir a small round cap, goltopi, is worn. Pathans, Baluchis, Sindis, Multanis, &c. The new fashion in vogue amongst the younger generation of Mussulman is called the ikbarah or patalunnuma, which is like the European trousers. They are usually made of calico; they have no buttons but are fastened with string (kamarband). Bathing drawers are called ghutannah and reach to the knee. The tight drawers worn by wrestlers are called janghiah. Garments for outdoor wear are the anga, or angarkha, the chapkan, the achkan or sherwani; the anga, a coat with full sleeves, is made of any material, white or coloured. It is slit at the sides, has perpendicularly cut side-pockets, and is fastened with strings just below the breast. It is opened on the right or left side according to local custom. The anga is now considered old-fashioned, and is chiefly worn by elderly men or religious persons. It is still not uncommon in Delhi, Agra, Lucknow and at native courts, but is being superseded by the achkan (Plate I. fig. 4), which is buttoned straight down the front. Both anga and achkan reach to a little below the knee, as also does the chapkan, a relic of Mogul court dress, best known as the shield-like and highly adorned coat worn by government chaprasis (Plate II. fig. 3). Over the anga is sometimes worn an overcoat called a choga; this is made of any material, thick or thin, plain or ornamented; it has one or two fastenings only, loops below the breast whence it hangs loosely to below the knees. The choga is sometimes known by its Arabic names aba or kaba, terms applied to it when worn by priests or ulemas. In cold weather Pathans and other border residents wear posteens, sleeved coats made of sheepskin with the woolly side in. In India farther south in cold weather an overcoat called dagla is worn; this is-an anga padded with cotton wool. A padded choga is called labada; when very heavily padded farghul. Whereas the European wears his waistcoat under his coat, the Indian wears his over his anga or chapkan (not over the achkan). A sleeveless waistcoat generally made of silk is called a sodari; when it has half sleeves it is called nimastin; the full-sleeved waistcoat worn in winter padded with cotton is called mirzdi. For ceremonial purposes a coat called jdma is worn. This fits closely as to the upper part of the body, but flows loosely below the waist. It is generally white, and is fastened in front by strings. In Gujarat and other parts of western India are to be found classes of Moslems who differ somewhat from those met with elsewhere, such as Memans, Boras and Khojas. The first are Sunnis: the two last Shias. Memans wear (r) a gold embroidered skull-cap, (2) a long kamis fastened at the neck with 3 or 4 buttons on a gold chain, (3) sadariya, i.e. a tight waistcoat without sleeves, fastened in front with small silk buttons and loops, (4) an over-waistcoat called shaya-sadriya instead of the anga, with sleeves, and slits at the sides (probably of Arab origin). When he does not wear a skull-cap his amamah is made after the arched Arab form, or is a Kashmir scarf wound round a skull-cap made of Java straw. The Bora adopts one of four forms of pagri; the Ujjain, a small neatly bound one; the Ahmadabad, a loose high one; the Surat, fuller and higher than the Ujjain pattern (Plate I. fig. 5); or the Kathiawddd, a conical turban with a gold stripe in the middle of the cone. The Bora wears the anga, otherwise he resembles the Meman. The Khoja wears a pagri smaller than the Meman's, called a Moghaldi phenta; this leaves a portion of the head bare at the back. The material is always of kashida, a kind of embroidered cloth. Amongst Mahommedans only Pathans wear ear-rings.
End of Article: INDIAN

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