August 5, 2008

Dress Code, 1921 (Sialkot)


The dress of the peasant and of all villagers is simple. It consists of pagri or safa, a chadar or plaid thrown losely over the shoulders, a kurta or shirt and tahmat, lacha or langota which is a sheet of varying length tied round the waist and hanging like a long skirt. A pair of rough shoes completes his outfit. The tahmut differs from the lacha in being of one colour without a border while the lacha is variegated and has a border. The langota is narrower and is used for working purposes or for sleeping. It forms the only garment worn when asleep. The strict orthodox Sikhs wears the short drawers enjoined by his religion and a tahmat over them. These garments except the pagri are generally made of khaddar, the rough cotton cloth woven by the village weavers with yarn spurn by the Zamindar's women folk. The weaver gets Re. 1 for every fifty yards as a rule. The lacha is frequently of factory-made cloth.

On gala occasions the Zamindar wears finer cloth and sometimes dons a colored waist-coat In winter the chadar is discarded for a khes, dohr or chautahi, which are thick cotton plaids, the khes having a coloured pattern, the chautahi a border and the dohr being plane.

Pyjamas are only worn by men of the towns or the richer country people like Zaildars and Safedposhes. These classes also wear a kind of frock-coat of different cloths and colors and some have taken to tweed ulsters in the cold weather. Educated towns-people frequently wear european clothes. The women sometimes wear colored pyjamas, sometimes the lacha if they are Musalmans. It is considered correct for young women to wear pyjamas, but they do not always conform to the rule. The Musalmans pyjamas are worn lose while those of Hindus are tight cloth; Musalmans do not. The women of both religions wear a kurta or shirt and a chadar covering their heads and falling over the shoulders. The Hindu woman's kurta is shorter than the Muhamadans. At night women wear a single garment called gilti or andarwanja which is a large sheet coming under the right shoulder and tied over the left. Dogra women frequently wear a similar garment as their day clothing also.

At fairs or other occasions of rejoicing bright coloured clothing is worn by both sexes. The people have instinctive good taste and in their dress effect most happy combinations of color.

The Rajput males of both religions are not given to wearing ornaments but all who can afford it have a ring (chaap) of silver or gold. They load their boys when young with bracelets (kara) and necklets (hasiri). The Muhammadan Jats have the same customs.

Hindu Jats and Rajputs who are well off have a great liking for ornaments. They wear broad golden ear rings (birbali) and necklets (kantha) with starshaped or round lockets (nani) gani made of red beads, and the anant, or armlet, bound above the elbow is largely worn by the stricter Hindus who abstain from eating flesh of any kind.

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