April 2017
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Dressing Traditionally
[Fashion & Beauty-October 2008]

The new generation (and perhaps this is a sterotype), speaking of people up to their 20s or so is not at all concerned with dressing traditionally.  Yes, it is understandable that we live in this Western society and it is acceptable to wear jeans, etc but what about those few days a year? I’m speaking of holidays, festivals, and special occasions such as weddings and parties where we get to dress up in our traditional clothes. Even on these days the new generation does not “dress up” as much as possible. Many young girls complain when they have to attend a series of weddings because they are tired of dressing up. Who would have ever thought that women and girls, who are meant to wear all the fineries in the world, would forgo this opportunity so easily! Well, they already have.

Men abandoned traditional clothes long ago. Some men might wear traditional clothes on their wedding day, maybe to someone else’s wedding, or on a special holiday or festival but most will not ever do so. They would rather attend a wedding in their Armani, suit that is. Seems like women are nearing this type of behavior as well. Even when they do choose to dress traditionally, they are just simply donning some old salwar kameez. Many do not care to wear a nice sari. If they do, they make a big deal of it or only do it occasionally. Sure, wear a salwar kameez if you like it but then don’t just wear an ugly one.

How many times have you been to a wedding wear people were wearing black? Or, you were wearing black? No, I’m not refering to men in their suits but rather women. Since when did we start wearing black to weddings and on happy occasions? These are the days for color and not just ordinary color but red and orange and magenta and so on of course! However, women will wear a simple black salwar kameez. I’m sorry but the black salwar kameez is not at all or even close to equivalent as the Western Little Black Dress. No, it does not come close nor share the same purpose. Wearing black to a wedding or happy occasion is simply a NO in our culture. Happy occasions are all about color. Our culture is all about color. There is no land more colorful than India!

Now of course, not all people of the new generation are being referred to as unfashionable and uncaring. There are some who will not forgo the opportunity to “deck out” in their finery but this group is limited to very few. Unfortunately, our cultures and traditions and now even clothes and customs are being destroyed by the West. It is in the hands of this new generation to change that and keep our culture alive through fashion. Pick up a copy of Vogue, Indian Edition and do you think you see a single sari? Of course not! Or even, walk through a city like Mumbai and you’ll easily see many women in revealing Western clothes. Everything Indian is becoming more and more Westernized and it’s not just Indians but all DESIS! Desis in general are not keeping their customs alive. There is a dire need for this new generation to stand up and object. It is time to take back what is ours and flaunt it and be proud of it. The problem? Does anyone have the guts? No and celebrities make it even worse when they were Western clothes. They have shamed us all.

Another problem is Gold! It is a metal believed to purify anything it touches. It plays an enormous part in our culture. It is not just meant for weddings and then to be stored away in a bank vault somewhere. That has never been its purpose. In fact, married women are supposed to be adorned in gold all the time. Both Islam and Hinduism encourage the use of gold in jewelry. It is a tremendous part of the culture but does anyone care anymore? Of course, not! How often do you see someone attending a function wearing real gold or even diamond jewelry…probably not very often. Sure they all buy it and store it in their bank’s safe deposit boxes for God knows what reason but they really don’t care for it otherwise. These days fake has become the new gold! Yes it has. It is more important that your jewelry matches your clothes than what it is made of.

We have become so wrapped up in the culture of whatever Western country we’re living in that we have unwrapped our own values from around us. It is perfectly acceptable to wear jeans on a daily basis but when you get those few opportunities to represent who you really are and reflect your identity then it is important to bring out the saris. It is also unwise to think that we are “Americans” or “Canadians” or whatever else you consider yourself to be because the truth remains that when you look in the mirror the person starring back at you is brown and that is the way the West will always see us…Brown and Inferior…and that’s the way they will continue to treat us no matter how much we change ourselves to become like them. Instead, it is better to be yourself and be proud of who you are. This will more likely guarantee your success and survival as you lead your life in the West.

If you enjoyed this article you’ll also love our upcoming feature on “The New Generation on Friendship” which will discuss how much of the new generation no longer values friendship, especially women! Look for it in coming weeks!

[photo credits: homeindia.com, cbazaar.com, trendsnfashion.blogspot.com, publicweb.kukum.edu, vogue.in, flickr.com, pramanik.in]

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