I was on Facebook the other day and one particular post grabbed my attention. Here it is:
I don’t understand why, when it comes to Indian culture, only girls are scrutinized then blamed for not being cultural. This passing the buck on how girls nowadays don’t know how to tie sari, don’t wear pottu and those being a major dent on our culture. I am going to focus on cultural attire here as the picture above suggests.
Foreign people don’t love our culture or cultural attire – for them, sari and pottu are mere fashion statements. Nothing more and nothing less. It is shallow to say western people love our culture. If they love our culture, why don’t they have arranged marriages? CHECKMATE.
May I ask, how many Indian men here, in Malaysia know how to tie veshti and how many actually wear it? Certainly, Indian girls who wear cultural Indian attire, namely, sari, to places they go far outnumber Indian men who wear veshti sattei in public. And, yet Indian girls get blamed for not upholding culture. I have asked this question to a number of Indian guys and they justify them not wearing veshti by saying that the veshti feels like falling off their waist and that it is uncomfortable. I have news for you – sari ain’t the most comfortable attire in the world and not exactly a breeze to wear too. Angge soruvunum, ingge ilukanum, ipdi pothunum, appapah. And, we have to always pull and tug the sari to cover our chests and waist, wearing sari makes Indian girls very self conscious and makes us feel like falling over. Apdi illena, Kushi padathuleh Vijay kum Jyothika kum maatikereh maari maatikum,”Nee yen idipeh paathe!” “Illeh, na paakle!” Mostly the closest Indian guys here get to veshti here is kaili aka lungi: jom kita beramai-ramai do lungi dance.
Indian girls and ladies are the ones who are really upholding Indian culture compared to Indian guys
My Indian lady teachers wore sari to school – I have never seen any Indian male teacher wear veshti sattei to school. It won’t be fallacious to state that 99% of Malaysian Indian girls wear sari for their varsity convocation ceremony; do Indian guys at least wear jippa for their convocation events? I never saw any Indian girls wear body hugging tops and micro miniskirts or cocktail dresses to Indian weddings but I have seen most Indian men in shirt and long pants in such weddings. Who’s not upholding Indian culture here? Neenggeh panna paruvale, itheh oru ponnu pottu podlena, you will have a field day saying how Indian girls no longer follow Indian culture. Indian guys here be like, pottu, selei, poove, koluse, valayal potta tha ave Indian girl and fit to marry. What if Indian girls start to say, veshti, sattei potu, pattei adicha tha avan Indian guy and fit to marry? If Indian girls put up such conditions, most Indian guys here won’t get married.
In the movie Sivaji, Rajini says that he wants a Tamil thotta penn – a conservative Indian Tamil girl in all aspects. But in the songs in the movie, Shreya doesn’t look so conservative. Some Indian guys talk about how kalacharem is hacked away in Indian girls till they froth at the mouth and a nanosecond later drool at the sight of racy scenes in Tamil movies that border vibacharem. There is such supply because there is such demand.
There is a contention that sari is not one of the most modest pieces of attire around. Jannal veche jacket, bare back, sleeveless jacket, see through sari.
Pakai sari pun kutuk, tak pakai sari pun kutuk.. Apa nak jadi la.. I agree that in the name of fashion sari has gone through revealing modification but it is our cultural attire besides chudithar. To wear sari modestly or immodestly boils down to individual preference. My teachers didn’t wear sari in the menjolok mata fashion. I am just fed up with Indian guys telling that Indian girls don’t have kalacharem that’s proportional to dressing culturally when the guys themselves don’t. And, the latest design of chudithar is very modest indeed. I don’t think the issue is about sari being revealing or covering – Hindu female deities are portrayed with full bustlines with skimpy and tightly fitting sari jackets if we are to talk about modesty. Our great-grandmothers never wore sari blouses and wore no brassiere too. There is an extremely enlightening Tamil movie which portrays the transition from no sari blouse and brassiere to the donning of both called Rosa poo Ravikaikaari, starring, Surya’ s dad, Siva Kumar. The plot of the movie basically tells that if a woman dresses modestly, it doesn’t mean that she is priggish, moralistic and proper in conduct – in that movie, the so called decent, modern woman who is married to Siva Kumar, a villager would have an extra marital affair with another man from town.
Now, let’s take a look at our Mannin Mainthargal. Under the sweltering Equator sun they dress like they live in Alaska. Except for Yogi B who sports a kungguma and santhanam pottu on his forehead, do any of them carry with themselves some Indian attributes? Their genre of music is mainly rap and hip hop. I don’t see any mannin mainthargal who choose carnatic music as their music concentration. Why is that so? It is because no one will listen to it. Culture is evident in our values; no matter how westernized our external appearance seems to be, internally, most of us are Indians who are in touch with our culture, language, roots and salts, Indian girls and Indian guys alike. But, girls are always blamed in this context, hence me writing about this stereotype.
Exactly like how our mannin mainthargal don’t dabble in Indian classical music simply because it is unappealing, so do Indian girls forsake sari and other Indian feminine accessories for the sake of their profession or for the sake of places they go. At present, Indian guys are easily attracted to Indian girls who wear western clothes, on the first impression that they are more educated and advanced. One cannot refute that there are some Indian men who opine that Indian girls who wear traditional clothes as backdated, illiterate or someone who is not really educated. Also when it comes to getting a job, nowadays, if Indian girls go for an interview wearing a fully covered traditional outfit, the male interviewer, again, assuming that the girl is not very brainy, on the first impression, would rather give the job to someone else who has the brains and can double up as an eye-candy in the office.
In this advanced world of ours, some cultural establishments take a backseat as modern conventions assume precedence but that doesn’t mean Indian girls abandon their culture – they have it intact and in fact immerse in it more than Indian guys.
It is indeed imperative for Indian girls to know and follow our culture because they are ones who would educate the next generation to preserve culture as mothers. Does the mother only have to drill in Indian culture into her daughters and let her sons be? That logic is as skewed as that.
Is Indian culture only reserved for Indian girls? Only Indian girls have the onus to uphold culture? Don’t Indian guys share the onus? Ponder on it before pointing accusing fingers at Indian girls who don’t wear pottu and don’t know how to wear sari but make it a point to have them both on their foreheads and bodies when going to temples, weddings and when attending auspicious occasions.