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Indian Dress Styles
I know in north India they do Kanchedan ceremony (piercing of ears) at 3 or 5 yrs. Now it is only for girls.
In North, nose piercing is not considered good because of Islamic effect.
I think piercing is based on local traditions, nothing to do with religion. It’s to look beautiful.
Husky, Have you gone to the Meenakshi temple in Madurai and the Kanya Kumari temple?
Menakshi temple has an emerald nose stud presented by Lord Clive after getting cured of some malady.

KK temple is famous for the emerald nose stud.

I believe it has to do with being a 'kanya'.
<b>London Mayor condemns sacking of Hindu woman</b>
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The Hindu Council in UK in a statement said the wearing of a nose stud is an integral part of Lalji's faith. Many Hindu women have their nose pierced and fitted with a stud for their wedding as part of the Shringar ritual, it said.
<b>As per the ritual, there should be sixteen different "marks of a married woman". </b> The other marks include the Bindi, the red dot on her forehead, wearing of a Mungal Sutra or wedding necklace and Sindur, putting vermilion in the hair parting.

<b>These marks are not just the outward symbol of marriage. Traditionally they are believed to help ensure that the match is harmonious,</b> the Council said.

<b>It said Shringar is an integral part of the Hindu wedding ceremony as giving of a wedding ring is part of a Christian marriage. Brides, who choose to have their nose pierced and wear a stud for their wedding, would like to continue to wear it as a sign of their married status,</b> it added.
Husky while my area of AP (I mean my parents villages) does not have many nose rings that I can remember, the women do wear the toe ring signifying their married status, my mom wears it, they are called "mettelu" in Telugu.

There is another point to remember, often foreign introductions (like the sweets jalebi or badshah) for example retain foreign names in native languages, this is not the case with the nose stud or ring, virtually all the languages I know of have a native word for it, "mukku pudaka" in Telugu, "mukku kuthi" in Tamil, "koka" in Punjabi and so on.
<!--QuoteBegin-Mudy+Sep 19 2007, 08:39 PM-->QUOTE(Mudy @ Sep 19 2007, 08:39 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->I know in north India they do Kanchedan ceremony (piercing of ears) at 3 or 5 yrs. Now it is only for girls.[right][snapback]73347[/snapback][/right]<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->It's common in the South too, although, until now, I never heard what the ceremony was called. In the South too, boys and girls have their ears pierced for this when they are infants. My dads and uncles and granddads have it, some of my cousins too. (And of course all the women without exception.) Don't know how long they will keep piercing boys' ears, it might have become less fashionable after the British, but I think earrings look beautiful on everyone.
As you have remarked, it is Hindu.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->I think piercing is based on local traditions, nothing to do with religion. It’s to look beautiful.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->In TN it is very much part of Hindu tradition, my aunt was explaining the significance of this to my sister when presenting her with some nosestuds. A little sad now that I was not listening attentively to what she was saying, but there was lots to do for everyone and I was kept busy.
Many a thing that I had earlier taken to be ornamentation turned out to be Hindu. Often they are worn in express imitation of Uma or Lakshmi. And these might even be Shastric from what I think I overheard.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->As per the ritual, there should be sixteen different "marks of a married woman".<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->Toe rings. Kungumam on forehead (or any red pottu/bindi) and in the hair parting. And I also think the ear studs had something to do with this (gold or shiny, sometimes diamond - passed down from some generations back, so don't worry, these are not blood diamonds from Africa).
In some cases 9 yard saree is included, but not everyone seems to do this or maybe it is a local custom? Don't know that much about weddings myself, complicated stuff.

Post 102 - Ramana:
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Have you gone to the Meenakshi temple in Madurai and the Kanya Kumari temple?<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->Answer is Yes to visiting Meenakshi (and her Sundareshwara). But I don't remember whether my parents ever took me to see Kanya Kumari when I was a pup - in any case, I've no recollection of having seen her. (Other than in pictures of paintings of her.)

Post 104 - Bharatvarsh:
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->the women do wear the toe ring signifying their married status, <b>my mom wears it</b>, they are called "mettelu" in Telugu.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->That's what I mean!
In Ramayanam, when Hanuman brings back Sita's jewels as identification that he spoke to the right lady (as opposed to a pretender planted by Ravana), Rama - pained by the reminder of his separation from Sita and her plight - asks Lakshmana to look through the items. Lakshmana recognises they are Sita's when he sees her toe rings: he only ever focused on her feet because he was used to bowing to her everyday (I think this was because, as wife of his elder brother, Lakshmana considered her like a mother).
<... cutting out the obvious intermediate steps in this proof that any toddler can do ...>
And so it follows from the above, your mother is Sita (Lakshmi). Q.E.D. <!--emo&Smile--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='smile.gif' /><!--endemo-->
<!--QuoteBegin-Bharatvarsh+Sep 18 2007, 11:23 AM-->QUOTE(Bharatvarsh @ Sep 18 2007, 11:23 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->Is the nosestud a native thing or a later influence after Muslims came.

there is this famous line about Queen Padmavati describing the beauty of her nose. this is from the great poetry 'padmAvat', written by Malik Muhammad Jayasi in middle ages, taught to Hindi students as the classic example of sandeh alankAr and sringAr rasa.

<b>nAk kA motI</b>, adhar kI kAnti se,
bIja dADim kA samajh kar, bhrAnti se,
dekh kar sahasA huA Suka maun hai,
sochatA hai anya Suka yah kaun hai?

{the pearl of nose-stud was reflecting the colur of her lips,
alluding to it, therefore, to be a Pomegranate-seed,
when a parrot suddenly saw it, became quiet,
thinking who is this another parrot (thinks her nose to be a parrot eating the Pomegranate-seed)}

Next Puja, deck up in a British sari

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Next Puja, deck up in a British sari

<img src='http://www.telegraphindia.com/1070924/images/24summer.jpg' border='0' alt='user posted image' />

Shilpa with her Indian Summer sari

<img src='http://www.telegraphindia.com/1070924/images/24hicks.jpg' border='0' alt='user posted image' />

Miranda with the sari reflecting seaside life in Cornwall 

London, Sept. 23: The birth is due this Thursday of the “British sari”, the traditional but now redesigned Indian garment that may soon be exported from the UK to women in India and across the desi diaspora in a cultural equivalent of “coals to Newcastle”.

Of the 80 entries sent in from all over the UK for the sari which best reflects the reality of life in Britain, 10 have been shortlisted and one will be judged the winner.

According to images of the shortlisted designs released exclusively to The Telegraph, one by an Englishwoman, Miranda Hicks, is inspired by the seaside in Britain’s idyllic west country.

Hicks, who is studying textile design at University College, Falmouth, explained her motif: “I have created a sari design to reflect Cornwall. I took photos of Cornish life, mainly beaches, and used imagery that is typical of the area. Inspiration included Cornish ice-cream, and buckets and spades used on the beach.”

She said: “Many Indian motifs use birds, so I adapted that idea to fit Cornwall, using seagulls in one of mine. I also had photos of embroidery that I had seen on a visit to India, so I drew a pattern from them as well as henna designs.”

The winner of the “British Sari Story” competition, who will receive a cheque for £250, will be announced at the Brent Museum in north London.

The 10 designs have all been turned into silk saris, at a cost of £200 each, by the textile printing department at the University of East London.

The expectation is that some of the designs and others yet to be conceived will prove so popular that they will enter commercial production immediately, either in the UK or outsourced to India, and hit the market in time for Puja next year.

The shortlisted designs are certainly imaginative, the judging panel said. The “Harrow sari” from north London, a suburb with a big Gujarati population, has incorporated a woman in a burqa and another in a sari.

One design uses Indian and British buildings around the border, and CCTV cameras and red and blue, orange and green spots to denote the colours of the flags of India and the UK.

Shilpa Rajan, born in Canada to parents from India and now living and working as a freelance designer in Britain, chose the mango emblem for a summer sari after a walk along Ealing Road in Wembley.

“We know that summer has arrived once we see the mango-sellers’ pitches on the pavement with their big, brightly coloured umbrellas and stacks of mango boxes.”

Yet another takes its cue from the London Underground map.

The entire project began when an artist, Helen Scalway, spent three months sketching items that caught her fancy in a sari shop in Tooting, an Asian area in south London. Her work was seen at a lecture by Susan Roberts, who runs Bridging Arts, an organisation which uses arts to bring different cultures closer.

Roberts contacted Sital Punja, a businesswoman who owns Sari UK, a fashion label that collects old saris and turns them into western couture garments.

“The three of us had the idea of taking the whole project a step further by staging a competition to generate new sari designs,” Roberts told The Telegraph.

“We are delighted that Baroness Flather will announce the national winner,” Roberts also announced today. “She is famous for always wearing saris in the House of Lords. Her portrait wearing a Union flag sari hangs in the National Portrait Gallery.”

Flather, who revealed she had whittled down her personal collection of saris to 150, will pick a very special and rare “temple sari” to wear on Thursday.

She hailed the arrival of the British sari as “very exciting” and said women could never go wrong with a sari: “On the very few occasions I wear a trouser suit in the House of Lords, people say, ‘you are not going to change, are you?’ ”

The co-author of The Sari, the standard book on the garment, <b>Mukulika Banerjee</b>, who lectures on anthropology at University College, London, <b>said the fabric is usually five metres by one, but what distinguishes one sari from another are the material, design, method and place of manufacture. </b>

“There are hundreds, if not thousands, of different types of saris,” emphasised Banerjee, who <b>estimates that a middle class woman probably has between 300 and 400 saris.</b>

“New designs are being created and the British-designed sari is part of this process.”
Book Review in Pioneer, 25 Sept., 2007
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Weaving history of Indian textiles

Utpal K Banerjee

<b>Threads & Voices: Behind the Indian Textile Tradition, Laila Tyabji (ed), Marg Publications, Rs 2500</b>

It must be stated at the outset that the book under review is related to the enormously meaningful work that the noted organisation Dastkar has been doing in the Indian crafts world in general and in the arena of textiles in particular. It is, however, by no means a comprehensive portrayal of Indian textiles, as the name of the tome might suggest.

This is, however, not to diminish the value of the issues examined in the collection of essays compiled here, which covers, as the blurb claims, "the learning process that went into the making of both craftspeople and intervention agencies; the cultural importance to the craftspeople of the motifs and designs they use; how designs and products have changed with changing markets and lifestyles; how far technology has changed crafts and working conditions; and the conflict in craft today between economics and tradition, fashion and creativity. For most craftspeople, their craft is hard economics; it is encouraging and moving that for many, it also remains art".

<b>Established in 1981, Dastkar tries to promote craft as a socio-cultural and economic force that, despite being marginalised due to urbanisation and industrialisation, has enormous strength and potential.</b> The objective of Dastkar's programmes is to help craftspeople, especially women, to use their own traditional craft skills as a means of employment, income generation and economic self-sufficiency. Dastkar guides this process: From identifying the skill; creating awareness of its potential in both craftsperson and consumer; developing, designing, costing and then marketing the product; and, finally, suggesting proper usages and investment of the income generated.

<b>Dastkar attempts to ensure that the end-product is competitive -- not just in its worthiness of purpose or the need of its produce, but also in cost, utility and aesthetics.</b> A consumer does not have to buy out of compassion!

<b>It is true that crafts and craftspeople have a vital role to play in contemporary India -- not just as part of its cultural and aesthetic past, but also economic future.</b> Elaben Bhatt, founder of SEWA (Self-Employed Women's Association), says regarding Dastkar's endeavours, "The organisation started the movement and gave many NGOs and craftspeople the confidence to make good crafts products and market them directly. It showed us the way and gave us direction. Today, there is consequently an all-India movement of craft as a means to sustainable employment."

The tome offers a set of sectarian studies of this process, but the momentum of the all-India movement has not been missed out. <b>The studies are, by themselves, neat and authentic -- mostly first-hand reportage. The focus is clearly on tradition in transition: Through either historical analyses or pure micro-studies or a combination of the two.</b> Roughly, 'Chippas' of Rajasthan, 'Doria' of Chinnur (Andhra Pradesh), 'Sujuni' of Bihar, and artisan and art of Bhujudi (Kachchh) have been micro-studied, while only techno-historical analysis occurs for 'Chikankari' of Lucknow, and 'Bagh' and 'Phulkari' of the Punjab.

The remaining studies are a mix of these two approaches -- embracing Kashmiri embroidery, 'Charkha' for 'Khadi', embroidery by Lambani women and an overview of embroidery as identity and empowerment. While each piece is well-written, no special explanation is offered for the differential treatment; perhaps, it was best left to each individual author as a matter of convenience.

<b>As has been said in a different context, what is covered here is interesting, but what has been left out is vital. The rest of Indian textile has been given a go-by. </b>For North-East India, where every woman is a skilled craftsperson and every tribe has its distinctive textiles, the omission is glaring. Thus, the shawls of Naga tribes, 'Gamochha' of Assam, 'Phanek' of Manipur, shawls of Meghalaya and shawl-like wrapping-skirts of Mizoram are conspicuously absent. West Bengal's 'Kantha' finds a stray mention, but its picturesque 'Nakshi Kantha' variety does not figure here.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Saree Innovations in South India

Karnavedha (ear piercing), like seemantham, annaprashnam, vidyarambham, upanayanam etc, is part of the 16 samskaram and is usually performed on the abdhapoorthi (completion of first year) day for both boys and girls.
We are Telugu Sri Vaishnavites, my parents want to conduct my Seemantham on the 10th of Jan 2008. I would like to know the procedures to conduct a Seemantham, the sampradayams etc that have to be followed. I would request you to give more religious tips than the social formalities. I was also told one must listen to the Suvarna Suktham Veda , could you please tell why?

Thank you,
Deeptha Echampati
^ Post above seems to be an important question on Seemanthams.

In the interrim, here's a picture of the Half-Sari, the traditional Hindu dress. I mentioned it long ago and never posted a picture. It's commonly worn in S India by teenaged girls/young women (I don't know about N India; but as Sari is all-Indian Hindu wear, Half-Sari would also be, I'm guessing). Half-Sari is based on Bharatanatyam dress which is of course the same as the dress that Devi Vigrahams are clothed in. <!--emo&Smile--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='smile.gif' /><!--endemo-->

<img src='http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v130/indiaforum/TraditionalHinduDress_HalfSari.jpg' border='0' alt='user posted image' />

Beautiful Hindu wear: traditional dress, pottu (bindi), flowers and jewellery - all present in photo. <!--emo&:clapping--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/clap.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='clap.gif' /><!--endemo--> Hindu women and men look beautiful in traditional Hindu gear, IMO.

Above is the lovely Telugu actress Keerti Reddy - apparently it's some photo from a film, but I haven't watched so no comments.
Anyways, when someone finally makes a movie about how our Reddy Rulers took on the islamic Terror <!--emo&:bcow--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/b_cowboy.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='b_cowboy.gif' /><!--endemo--> (now that's a plot I'd pay to watch - <i>hint, hint</i>), maybe they'll put her in it.
I found this link has paintings of women in different dresses from pre colonial era:

above collection is very good...


an interesting perspective by a sari-wearing professional:

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->in the three months that I've moved to Bombay, the single most
asked question of me has been "why do you wear a sari?" at work, at
home, in pubs, at restaurants, at traffic lights and on the train.

At first it made me feel a little defensive- what do they mean why do
I wear a sari? Am I not wearing it nicely? Is there something wrong
with it? Is (Horror of horrors!!) my petticoat showing!

Soon the defensiveness wore off, But the question didn't stop. Some
of the answers I give are- because I teach at university, because I
have so many, because they are so beautiful, because I want to show
my solidarity with the traditional weaving communities, because I
have domestic help and don't have to do the laundry myself…

How do I choose which answer to give when? Since all the `reasons'
are widely different. This is what I look for why i this person
asking me this? what can it mean? I try and make the question as
intelligible as i possibly can.

In the Virar fast train I say -because I teach at university. This
way, the girl who has just asked, nods sympathetically and
commiserates that I have Evil Employers who have unrealistic dress
codes. She has just made this calculation- the sari is inconvenient,
anyone who has a choice of dress, who jumps in and out of fast
trains, would only wear one under duress.

If my colleague at work asks me wistfully "tell me Polly, why DO you
wear a sari?" I say- I just have so many, it's a pity not to. "But
how every morning??" -well I have a maid to do the laundry, so the
hard part is taken care of. For my colleague the paraphernalia around
the sari is cumbersome but of course gifts from well-meaning
relatives shouldn't go to waste. "You should gift them away at
weddings, like me…."

If I'm at a pub and someone asks me by the way, why are you in a sari-
I just say because it's sexy. They take one look at the bare mid-
riff, and nod cheerfully.

But given how many times I've answered the question, I'd really be
rather relieved if I could just say I wear a sari because it's my
religion! Because its complicated. Related to the sari, there is no
coherent `why' question that I can make sense of, or can give a
response to. As a general question it makes no sense- why do you wear
a sari?

I know within discussions on this board we all know the difference
between Semitic and heathen practices, but I do suspect that the -why
do you wear the head-scarf- question is really very similar to the-
why do you wear the sari -question. Not in terms of the `reasons' of
the wearer- maulvi told me/ I like the color -but in terms of the
assumptions of the person who asks the questions.

Everyone who asks me why I wear a sari assumes that its better,
easier, more efficient not to. But why? Certainly not because I'm
less efficient in it. Similarly, we look at someone in a head-scarf
through trained feminist, modern, freedom-of-the-individual lenses,
and assume that since going about without one, is so much more
convenient, there must be some very strong reasons (compulsion,
indoctrination) for this person to still be wearing one. And looking
for these reasons- why do you wear the head-scarf- we ask.

But these assumptions of efficiency and convenience are really
limited. My colleague has exactly the kind of domestic set up that I
do, and she still won't wear a sari. My `explanation' only gives a
semblance of an answer which looks like it satisfies her query, but
is in fact not an answer at all.

The more I think about the sari question the more convinced I am that
its nothing to do with convenience and efficiency. Maybe we just
have a normative understanding of what `real' clothes are, and what
they should enable, and what they should do for the wearer. Then we
want an explanation for people who don't choose them. The reason why
I get asked this question and the Aunty sitting next to me on the
train doesn't is that it looks as if I have a choice, (young,
educated, independent, English speaking) while she looks as if she
doesn't. Anyone who is not forced/indoctrinated will `obviously'
choose the more `reasonable' kind of clothes.

Normative notions of what one ought to wear, are disguised as concern
about gender equality, mobility, efficiency and convenience. "Real"
clothes promise all of these and more. But none of these categories
even exist in the horizon of the sari wearer (when I pick out my
clothes in the morning, I never think- better get into pants today, I
have to run after the train- I think more like it's a grey day- the
yellow Dharwadi will be cheerful).

So when my sari only has these kinds of thoughts behind it, and I
have to answer a why question, I'm utterly thrown. And I fish about
for what I guess the questioner wants to hear- producing odd reason
after very odd reason until I have perfected the art of saying
something that sounds approximately right.

So the different type of voice that you asked about, the one whose
ability to be 'different' you question, actually wouldn't talk about
the head-scarf as a religious symbol, or as the dictate of the
neighborhood maulvi or a fundamental right, or a freedom of

Disconcertingly, it might just talk about the quality of silk, the
pattern of the embroidery, the depth of the pleat and the lace
trimming and sidestep this incomprehensible debate entirely.

And I'm not being facile or 'girlie'! So before translating the
wearer's response to mean that women with little choice are making
the best of a bad situation, or that 'reason' will make them see
otherwise, lets see if we can change our way of looking at the head-
scarf as a problem by ceasing to ask the `why' question.

The language that constructs the sari/head scarf as a problem is
sometimes completely absent among the wearers. So whatever they say,
though it sounds absolutely inconsequential to the stormy debate they
are caught in, may in fact, be all they have to say.

By asking them to have an opinion on these terms, which is what
asking the `why' question does might force out answers like the ones
I've learnt to give. They might sound approximately right and give
the semblance of being a conversation. But actually it's not.
Convenience is just a small part, like I said before whoever dominates the world today will also control the trends, today its the West so many people will only speak English and wear western clothes because that is whats assumed to be "sophisticated", if tomorrow China assumes that position then the same Indians who speak Hinglish today will then take to Cantonese, thats just the way humans tend to be, wearing a sari is not even close to the inconvenience that women in Victorian England went to reduce their waists to stick thin, some even resorted to surgery and having bones removed for it, they did it because society then told them thats the standard of beauty, its the same dynamic at work in India and around the world, today western = fashionable.

Anyway I really detest the types mentioned in the article, wtf do they mean why do u wear sari, why do they wear pants, just mind ur own f'in business and it will be good for everyone concerned, oh and i bet they would never ask any Muslim women "why do u wear a burqa?"
A related article from Pioneer, 26 June 2008

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->White-washed faces

Shailaja Chandra

The fairness cult is not new and extends to Asian, Mexican, West Asian and Japanese cultures but Indians have recently become hyperactive on this front. The culmination of this fairness mania is the marriage market. Where will this madness stop?

<b>The frenzied application of skin whitening creams has become a race against time, heaping huge profits on a handful of companies. The fairness cult is nothing new and extends to Asian, Mexican, West Asian and Japanese cultures, but Indians have recently become hyperactive on this front.</b> While there is no overt discrimination against duskiness (an occasional Rekha, Smita Patil or Nandita Das proves the point), a penchant for fair skin is reflected right from birth. Through teacher and peer preferences at school, it extends to several professions where 'white as marble' skin is synonymous with charisma. The culmination of this fairness mania is of course the marriage market.

<b>South India tops the user's market using 36 per cent of the fairness creams with the north and west contributing almost 25 per cent each. The eastern region contributes only 18 per cent of the usage of skin whiteners. According to market research, the fairness cream bazaar is exploding at a phenomenal 20 per cent per year of which men's fairness products constitute a whopping 35per cent share.</b> Confusedhock:

First a word about ingredients. Hydroquinone has been the gold standard agent of skin lightening creams for years. But now regulatory agencies in Japan and Europe have banned its use and the United States has questioned the safety of products using this ingredient. Dermatologists in India say that they do not know whether hydroquinone is being used in skin lightening creams because there is no requirement to display contents, which is essential only for medicine. According to the Dermatologic Therapy journal, Hydroquinone has become controversial because it could be toxic.

<b>As a country that loves to ban, prohibit and embargo things, it is surprising that cosmetics have remained outside the pale of regulators.</b> The US FDA's threat to withdraw all OTC two per cent hydroquinone preparations and their removal from European and Japanese markets has stimulated a huge interest in developing botanical alternatives.

In the past, skin whiteners have created huge problems in different parts of the world. In China, blood tests on patients with symptoms ranging from enormous weight gain to mild hair growth on the face, revealed use of skin lightening creams that contained potent steroids used to treat psoriasis and eczema. A professor at Harvard Medical school, Mr Allen Counter, reported in 2003 that Mexico, Nigeria and the border States of California, Texas and Arizona all showed extremely high rates of mercury poisoning followed by Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Africa. Mercury poisoning causes kidney damage and may also lead to psychiatric disorders. Mercury based formulations have been banned the world over, including India. But what about other hazards?

While the consumer has to ultimately decide whether it is worth taking the risk, cosmetic regulations must demand the supply of much more information on ingredients and their properties. <b>The Drugs and Cosmetic Act, 1940, makes it incumbent on the manufacturer to warn the public about hazardous substances -- a meaningless requirement judging from the elasticity of commercial conscience. </b>Enforcement of cosmetic quality has never been taken seriously till now and it is high time it was done, considering the proliferation of products cascading from the shelves promoted by aggressive advertising. <b>Unlike the FDA in the US, we have no system of directing industry to perform self-funded collaborative studies on the safety and efficacy of ingredients and to produce a written report thereon. We need that authority because crores are being spent on ensnaring a gullible public to spend more and more on dubious outcomes.</b>

A well-known private sector dermatologist, however, felt that banning is typical of the hype that periodically emerges from the US, which is not applicable or relevant here. Government dermatologists were less sanguine about the safety of such products. They apprehend that all kinds of useless but potentially toxic substances are penetrating the skin and the problem is not restricted to skin creams alone. <b>Ms Nina Khanna, professor of dermatology at AIIMS, observed wryly, "God has given us the pigment to protect us from abundance of sunlight we have in India -- the use these creams -- if at all they work- might cause more harm than good."</b>

Side-by-side the widespread use of temple vermilion and sindoor is exposing women to toxicity from lead oxide, which is extremely dangerous. Stick-on bindis cause leucoderma in sensitive skin-types. Knowing all this, there is every need to find ways to forewarn an unsuspecting public who can then decide whether the risk is worth it.

<b>First, it should be incumbent on manufacturers to declare all ingredients and to produce monographs on the safety and efficacy of the products. Second, the people need to be educated about the possible harmful effects of specific chemical ingredients. Third, a huge opportunity should not be missed to revive the goodness of Ayurveda even as countries hunt for safer, greater alternatives. </b>

<b>Instead of being self-righteous about Ayurveda, toxicology studies must be facilitated, undertaken and got completed on fast track to offer Indian botanical alternatives that really 'fair' well.</b> A potion made of chandan, dahi, besan, multani mitti or the Maharashtrian Uttana may well be the answer to the quest for radiance in southern latitudes.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->He proudly wears Punjabi attire
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

<img src='http://www.tribuneindia.com/2008/20080901/punjab6.jpg' border='0' alt='user posted image' />

Chandigarh, August 31
In every society, there are only a handful people who dare to tread uncommon paths. Balkaur Singh, who retired today as excise and taxation officer of the Punjab government, after putting in 33 years of service, is one such person. Of the nearly 6 lakh employees of the Punjab government, he maintained a distinct identity.

He did not wear pants and shirt unlike most senior and junior babus in Punjab and many other parts of the country, even once during the entire tenure of service. And he did not even wear a kurta and pyjama while on duty. Without bothering about self-imposed protocol by babus, Balkaur Singh wore the traditional Punjabi dress, chadar, kurta and tilledar jutti during the period of his entire service. He was the only employee of the state government who attended top-level official meetings in the traditional attire.

Before joining service as an inspector in 1975, Balkaur did his postgraduation in English and Punjabi as a regular student from Panjab University in the early 1970s. He sat in the class room in the traditional Punjabi dress without bothering about what other students and teachers felt about his dress. “My colleagues and other students in the university and during service in the excise department used to taunt me, but I did not bother as I always feel proud of my Punjabi identity,” said Balkaur Singh.

A brief comment made by an English couple in 1966 changed his life forever. He was so hurt by the comment that he decided not to wear “pants and shirt” ever again. “The British couple was sitting in front of our college at Sirsa. Out of curiosity, I along with other students went to see them as we had never seen such people,” said Balkaur Singh. “As far as language and dress is concerned we are still ruling India,” said the Englishman. “Listening to that remark I felt so humiliated that I decided not to wear the attire given to us by Englishmen,” said Balkaur, who also holds postgraduation degrees in philosphy, sociology and psychology.

He says public life is dominated by thugs, corrupt and dishonest people. Bureaucrats and other government officials take pleasure in harassing common people. Hypocrisy has become way of life. Ruling classes of all hues are dishonest to people to whom they pretend to serve, he says. “As I had to guts to confront dishonest people, no one asked me to do anything illegal. I tried my best to serve small traders and businessmen honestly and never harassed them. In fact, I tried to help them. I spared those who committed mistakes inadvertently, but never spared those who have been dodging the government by using influence and their status”, he adds.

Balkaur says, “I will now promote Punjabi culture and expose hypocrites, who in the name of serving and promoting Punjabi culture are playing their own politics”.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->DUIN: Saris reflect Hindu values
Garment stands test of time
Julia Duin (Contact)
Sunday, September 14, 2008

Does wearing a sari a Hindu woman make? On one level, no. Lots of Muslim and Christian women in India wear this traditional dress. On another level, however, adopting the sari conveys an ability to coexist with the prevailing Hindu culture.

During my first visit to India in 1994, I inquired about visiting a Hindu temple while in the southernmost state of Kerala. I could not go in, I was informed, unless I donned a sari and converted to Hinduism. I could understand the latter requirement, but the former intrigued me; what was there about wearing a sari that was quintessentially Hindu?

A special report on the sari in the fall 2008 issue of Hinduism Today revived my interest in the garment, which dates back at least 40 centuries. The magazine says the sari can be traced to Sanskrit literature in the Vedic period (2000 B.C.-1000 B.C.), which specified that women wear pleats tucked at the waist, the front and the back so as to placate Vayu, the god of the wind.

More recently, the way saris are draped conveyed religion and caste (a Hindu concept), especially in rural India. Hinduism has a preference for unstitched clothing, as piercing fabric with needles is considered unclean.

Also, a mode of dress was needed for rich and poor alike, so Indians developed several ways to drape a single piece of cloth around one's body.

Whereas other traditional wear such as the Japanese kimono, the Chinese cheongsam, and Filipina barongs and kimonas are for special occasions, the sari is everyday garb.

I considered wearing saris during my two visits to India (the second was in 2006), but somehow I never looked right in the outfit. My coloring - which is best with pastels - never seemed to go with the bright silks in primary colors I tried on.

And then there was wrapping the darned thing. Starting out with six yards of fabric, you first knot two of the edges at your waist, then wrap the cloth counterclockwise around your body, making numerous pleats and tucking them in your waistband. Then you wrap the remainder in one of several ways above your upper body, letting the remainder fall gracefully down your back or wrapped about your right arm.

I always made a mess of it, looking more like Casper the Friendly Ghost than a Bollywood star. The material that was supposed to flow down my back - called the pallav - always flopped forward and ended up in whatever meal I was eating. Or the pleated folds that were supposed to stay tucked came undone, causing the sari to end up in a pile near my feet.

Buying one was not easy, as the tailors at the sari shops made me feel ignorant and uninformed. During a visit to one such shop in Mysore, I compromised by buying white-and-gold sari material and having a western-style dress made out of it. I get raves every time I wear it.

I always thought saris were the most sensible kind of clothing for hot climates, especially in contrast to the stifling black abayas Muslim women are forced to wear in some areas of the Middle East. Men have no such requirements.

In India, clothing is more egalitarian as the traditional dhoti for men covers more flesh than the sari. The sari is beautiful, modest and makes even the fattest woman look thinner. It won't be disappearing into modernity any time soon.

Julia Duin's Stairway to Heaven column runs Thursdays and Sundays. Contact her at jduin@washington times.com.

In contemporary India, it is observed that Bollywood dress code and the dress propagated by the Western TV transmitted through the local Cable TV operator are playing a very decisive role. With the advent of the beauty parlours and Cable/Dish TV in the small towns the influence of the JEANS is fact growing. Consequently, the foreign state of art ladies undergarment industry is increasingly becoming active with big budget advertisements.

During my recent visit toe Delhi and Kolkata , I also observed that the Sari is on its way out , particularly amongst the working class women .The cumulative effect of the Pizza HUT, Mac Donald plus Paris Hilton has been the erosion of Indian cultural values.
Another interesting aspect is that the jean clad parents do not have the time or the inclination to teach our conservative Indian manners and values to the younger generation of Indians.
The celebrated Raja Jai Singh of Ambar had espoused a princess of Haravati (of the house of Kota), whose manners and garb, accordant with the simplicity of that provincial capital, subjected her to the badinage of the more advanced court of Ambar, whose ladies had exchanged their national dress for that of the Moghal imperial court at Delhi.

One day, when alone with his bride, the prince began playfully to contrast the sweeping jupe of Kotah with the more scanty robe of the belles of his own capital, and, taking up a pair of scissors, said he would reduce it to an equality with the latter.

Offended at such levity, she seized his sword, and, assuming a threatening attitude, said that in the house to which she had the honour to belong, they were not habituated to jests of such a nature; and she assured him, that if he ever again so insulted her, (or the national dress), he would find that the daughters of Kota could use a sword more effectively than the princes of Ambar the scissors, adding, that she would prevent any further scion of her house from being subjected to similar disrespect, by declaring such intermarriages tilac, or forbidden, which interdict yet exists.


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