Online Encyclopedia


Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V14, Page 419 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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MAHOMMEDAN WOMEN. Head-dress.—The rupatta (also called dopatta), or veil, is of various colours and materials. Its length is about 3 yds., its width about i 2. It is worn over the head and thrown over the left shoulder. It is considered essential to modesty to cover the head. This head-dress is also known as orhna, orhni, pochan, pochni (Baluchistan and western India) chundri, reo (Sind), sipatta, takrai or chadar (Pathan). Among the poorer classes it is called pacholi. Farther south in India when of thicker material it is called chadar or chaddar. It is called pachedi, potra or malaya by Meman, Bora .and Khoja women. As a rule married women wear brighter colours than The kassawa is a handkerchief bound over the head and tied at the back, and is worn by Mahommedan women indoors to keep the hair tidy; Mahommedan women plait their hair and let it hang down behind (Plate I. fig. 6). Clothing.—A short jacket fastened at the back and with short sleeves is worn. It may be of any material. In Sind, Gujarat and other parts of western India it is called a choli. It is also very generally known as angiyd. Other common names are mahram and sindband (breast-cover). The kurtd is a sort of sleeveless shirt, open in front and reaching to the waist. It may be of any material. When this is worn with the angiya it is worn over it. This combination of dress is worn only by young married women. In Kashmir and northern India generally the angiya is not worn, and the kurtd is worn instead. This is like the kamis: of the man, already described; it has full sleeves, is open at the front, which is embroidered, and reaches to the knee or lower. Among Pathans there are two kinds of kurta (kamis or khat); one worn by married women called girddand khat is dark red or blue, embroidered with silk in front; the jaldnd khat worn by unmarried women is less conspicuous for colour and ornament. A large pocket '(jeb) is often sewn on in front like the Highlander's sporran. The Pa'ejdmds, also called izdr, are cut like those of men, and known by the same names. They differ only in being of silk or other fine material and being coloured (Plate I. fig. 6). Among Pathans they are called ' partog or partek (pardek), and those of unmarried girls are of white, while married women wear them of susi, a kind of coloured silk or cotton. As a general rule the wearing of paijamas is the chief distinction between Mussulman and Hindu women. In the Shahpur and other districts, however, where Mahommedans have followed Hindu customs, 'Moslem women wear the majla, a cloth about 3 yds. long by 11 wide tied tightly round the waist so as to fall in folds over the legs. Even Mahommedan men sometimes wear the majla in these districts This form of dress is known among Moslems as tahband [lower binding] (Plate I. fig. 6). In Rajputana, Gujarat and the southern Punjab, Mahommedan women sometimes wear a lhenga or ghagra skirt without trousers; in the Sirsa district and parts of Gujarat the ghagra is worn over the trousers. The sadari or waistcoat is worn by women as well as men. The tillak or peshwaz. is a dress or robe the skirt and bodice of which are made in one piece, usually of red or other coloured material; it is common in Gujarat, Rajputana and the Sirsa district, and is the style usually adopted by nautch girls when dancing. Meman women wear also the aba, or overcoat, which differs from that worn by men, in that it has loose half sleeves, and fastens with two buttons at each side of the neck over the shoulders; it is embroidered on the breast, and adorned with gold lace on the skirts. In Delhi, Lucknow, Agra and other towns in the Punjab and the United Provinces a special wedding dress is worn by the bride, called rit-kajora, the " dress of custom." It is worn on the wedding night only; and it is a rule that no scissors are employed in making it. The trouser string of this dress is not the. usual kamarband, but is made of untwisted cotton thread called kalawa. Out of doors Mahommedan women wear the burkd, a long loose white garment entirely covering the head and body. It has two holes for the eyes. Mahommedan women penpll the eyes with kohl or surma, use missi for the teeth_ and Eololur the palms and nails of the hand with henna. A nose-ring is a sign of marriage.

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