Sunday, August 15, 2010

Dressing down on hypocrisy

Hypocrisy is a human virtue that may have its origin in the sartorial preferences of mankind. Mankind (along with womankind) could have well lived along without clothes.Witness a nudist colony for example where families with kids in tow move around with an indifferent air that can only be compared to that noticed in rush hour metros. But nudist colonies, alas, have now become museum pieces much demanded for the voyeuristic pleasure of the dressed up tourists.
Humanity clothes itself in fashionable fabrics not only to boost sales of the textiles factories but also to make statements of style,status & attitude that are markedly different from that achieved through wearing of birthday suits. If that is not being a hypocrite, what is ?
But this is only the first level.The second level of hypocrisy exists in adorning the type of dresses. While African nations take pride in wearing their traditional frocks, aprons instead of the western pants, shirts & suits; Asian nations still prefer the western outfits over their national ones. Even in a country with rich heritage like India; its citizens fail to notice the white dhoti & chadar worn by the no-nonsense, Harvard educated,articulate home minister, Chidambaram. Majority of Indians still prefer to be wrapped up in western outfits. A dhoti-clad Jyoti Basu in Bengal too could not change this mindsets. Gandhi's loin cloth was of course meant to be a snap shot for the history books. Indians are masters of adopting such hypocrisies in their daily lives. Office going Indians would discard their western dresses and slip into lungis once they reach home at the end of the day. Chappals will be tucked out if one has to visit a club. A new pair of socks will always be presented along with the leather shoes for the school kids, be it in urban or rural India. This ancient ,dialectic schizophrenia about sartorial hypocrisies make Indians just that much more misunderstood by Westerners although the argument could well have been tied to a renewal of nationalistic zeal by adopting traditional clothing, specially on the eve of the 63rd Independence day of the Indian republic.

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