Chapter : 5. Clothing : A Social History

Designing The National Dress

(i) As nationalist feelings swept across India by the late nineteenth century, Indians began devising cultural symbols that would express the unity of the nation.
(ii) The Tagore family of Bengal experimented, beginning in the 1870s, with designs for a national dress for both man and women in India. Rabindranath Tagore suggested that instead of combining Indian and European dress, India's national dress should combine elements of Hindu and Muslim dress. Thus the chapkan (a long buttoned coat) was considered the most suitable dress for men.
(iii) In the late 1870s, Janandanandini Devi, wife of Satyendranath Tagore, the first Indian member of the ICS, returned from Bombay to Calcutta. She adopted the Parsi style of wearing the sari pinned to the left shoulder with a brooch, and worn with a blouse an shoes. This was quickly adopted by Brahmo Samaji women and came to be known as the Brahmika sari. This style gained acceptance before long among Maharashtrian and Uttar Pradesh Brahmos, as well as non-Brahmos.
(iv) Women of Gujarat, Kodagu, Kerala and Assam continue to wear different types of sari.
A. The Swadeshi Movement:
B. Mahatma Gandhi's Experiments with clothing :
C. Not All Could Wear Khadi

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