Open main menu
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

Men.—The Hindu (except the Rajput) shaves his head, leaving only a top-knot on the point of the skull. He shaves the face (except the eye-brows) and his body. The Rajput wears a full beard and whiskers, usually parted in the middle. He sometimes draws the beard and whiskers to the side of the head, and to keep it tidy wraps round it a cloth called dhātā or galmochā.

Head-dress.—Hindus wear sometimes turbans and sometimes caps. When the turban is worn it is always of the pagri form, never the amāmāh. Hindus wind the pagri in various ways as described for Mussulmans, but the angles are formed over the ears and not from front to back. Mahrattas wear flat red pagris, with a small conical peak variously shaped and placed. The pagri is known in different parts of India as pāg, phentā, phag, phagdi and many other names. In Bengal a sort of turban is worn which can be taken off like a hat. When Hindus wear caps or topis they resemble those worn by Mahommedans, but they never wear the fez, tārbūsh or irāni topi. In Gaya a peculiar cap made of tāl leaves is worn in rainy weather, called ghungā. Bengalis, whether Brahmans or of other castes, frequently go bareheaded.

Body Clothing.—The dhoti is a simple piece of cloth (cotton), generally white. It is wound round the loins, the end passed between the legs from front to back and tucked in at the waist behind (Plate II. fig. 2). The small form of dhoti worn by men of the lower class is called langoti. It does not fall below mid-thigh. A Brahman’s dhoti, as also that of some other castes, reaches to a little below the knee; a Rajput’s to his ankles. The dhoti is known under many names, dhutia, pitambar, lungi, &c. In some parts of India half the dhoti only is wound round the loins, the other half being thrown over the left shoulder. Some upper classes of Hindus wear for coat the kūrtā; most wear the angharkā (Plate II. fig. 1), a short angā reaching to the waist. It is also known as kamri, baktari, badan or bandi. Hindus wear the angharkhā or angā as Mahommedans do, but whereas the Mahommedan has the opening on the left the Hindu wears it on the right. When the kūrtā is worn it is worn under the angā. The chaddar (chadar or dopatta) is of various kinds. It is a piece of cotton cloth 3 yds. long by 1 yd. wide. It is worn across the shoulders, or wrapped round the body, but when bathing, round the loins. Hindus, both men and women, wear ear-rings.

The Brakminical thread (janeo) (Plate II. fig. 2) is a cord made of twisted cotton prepared with many ceremonies. It is worn over the left shoulder and hangs down to the right hip. It is of three strands till the wearer is married, when it becomes six or nine. It is 96 handbreadths in length, and is knotted. Rajputs also wear this thread, similar in make and length, but the knots are different.

Caste and sect marks also distinguish Hindus from each other.

Women.—The hair is sometimes worn plaited (chotì), usually an odd number of thin plaits made into one large one, falling down the back and fastened at the end with ribbons. Another style is wearing it in a knot after the ancient Grecian fashion; it is always worn smooth in front and parted in the middle. Over the head is worn the orhna or veil. The end is thrown over the left shoulder in such a manner as to conceal the breast. On the upper part of the body the kūrtā is sometimes worn. A bodice called angiyā is worn. This covers the breast and shoulder; it has half sleeves, is very short, and is fastened at the back with strings.

The skirt is called lhenga or ghagra. It is worn mostly in Rajputana hanging in full flounces to the knee or a little below. In Bengal, Madras and Bombay Presidencies women do not wear a skirt, only a choli and sārī. This last is a long piece of cotton or silk cloth. Half is draped round the waist and hangs to the feet in folds; the remainder is passed over the head and thrown over the left shoulder (Plate II. fig. 4).

Sikh.—The Sikh does not shave or cut his hair. The beard is parted in the middle and carried up each side of the face to the top of the head. A piece of cloth called dhātā or galmochā is wound round the chin and head so as to keep the hair clean and tidy. The hair of the head is tied into a knot (kes) at the top of the head or at the back, a distinguishing mark of the Sikh. His religion requires the Sikh to carry five articles—kes, the knot of hair on the head; the kanga, a comb; the kard, a knife; the kach, a pair of short trousers peculiar to the Sikh; and the kharā, an iron bangle on the wrist. It is de rigueur that he should carry some piece of iron on his person. His head-dress he calls a pāg; it is a turban of amāmāh shape but enormously large. The Sikh nobility and gentry wear two turbans, either both of pagri form or one of pagri and one of amāmāh form. Each is of a different colour.

The Sikh calls his kūrtā jhaggā; it is very large and loose, bound with a scarf round the waist. The kach is a sort of knickerbockers reaching to just below the knee, which they encircle tightly. Over all the Sikh wears the choga. In outlying villages he wears instead of the kūrtā a chādar or cloth, which he calls khes, on the upper part of his body. Some village Sikhs wear a tahband or waistcloth instead of the kach. Sikhs are fond of jewelry and wear ear-rings. The dress of Sikh women does not differ greatly from that of Hindu women; but in the Sirsa district and some other parts she wears the Mahommedan sutan or trousers, under the lhenga or skirt. There is a small sect of Sikh known as Akāli or Nihang. Their dress is entirely of dark blue colour, the turban being also blue, high and pointed; on it are fastened three steel quoits. The quoit was the ancient weapon of the Sikh, who calls it chakar. Certain steel blades are stuck through the body of the turban. The Akālis also wear large flat iron rings round the neck and arms (Plate II. fig. 6).

Parsis.—When the Parsis were first admitted into India, certain conditions were imposed upon them by the Hindus; among others they were not to eat beef, and they were to follow the Hindu custom of wearing a top-knot of hair. Old-fashioned Parsis in country districts still follow these customs. To uncover the head is looked upon as a sin; hence Parsis of both sexes always wear some head covering whether indoors or out. In the house the man wears a skull cap; out of doors the older Parsis wear the khoka, a tall hat, higher in front than at the back, made of a stiff shiny material, with a diaper pattern (Plate I. fig. 7). The younger generation adopted a round pith hat with a rolled edge of felt, but, under the influence of the swadeshi movement, they have generally reverted to the older form (Plate I. fig. 10). Next to the skin the Parsi wears a sadra or sacred shirt, with a girdle called kasti. Over the sadra a white cotton coat is worn, reaching to a little below the waist. The Parsi wears loose cotton trousers like a Mussulman. In country districts he wears a jāmā, and over the jāmā a pechodi or shoulder cloth. The young Parsi in Bombay has adopted European dress to a great extent, except as to head-gear. The Parsi woman dresses her hair in the old Greek fashion with a knot behind. She also wears a sadra or sacred shirt. Country Parsis in villages wear a tight-fitting sleeveless bodice, and trousers of coloured cloth. Over all she winds a silken sari or sheet round the body; it is then passed between the legs and the end thrown over the right shoulder. Out of doors she covers her head and right temple (Plate I. fig. 8). In towns the sari is not passed between the legs, but hangs in loose folds so as to hide the trousers. The upper classes wear a sleeved polka jacket instead of the bodice. Parsi children up to the age of seven wear cotton frocks called jabhlan. They wear long white trousers of early Victorian cut, with frills at the bottom. They wear a round cap like a smoking-cap. The little girls wear their hair flowing loose (Plate I. fig. 9).

Shoes.—There is no distinction between the shoes worn by Hindus, Moslems, Sikhs or Parsis, but Hindus will not wear them when made of cow’s leather. Shoes are called juta, juti or jute by Mahommedans, and jore or zore by Hindus. Shoes are usually distinguished by the name of the material, as nāri kā jūtā, leather shoes, banati jūtā, felt shoes, and so on.

There are innumerable styles of cut of shoe, three being the commonest: (1) Salimshahi, these are shaped like English slippers, but are pointed at the toe, terminating in a thin wisp turned back and fastened to the instep. They are mostly made of thin red leather, plain in the case of poorer people and richly