Dress and Identity in India
Clothes have been used to assert power, challenge authority, and instigate social change throughout Indian society. During the struggle for independence, members of the Indian elite incorporated elements of Western style into their clothes, while Gandhi's adoption of the loincloth symbolized the rejection of European power and the contrast between Indian poverty and British wealth. Similar tensions are played out today, with urban Indians adopting "ethnic" dress as villagers seek modern fashions.
Illustrated with photographs, satirical drawings, and magazine advertisements, this book shows how individuals and groups play with history and culture as they decide what to wear.
Glossary of Foreign Words
Preface: Reflections on a Portrait
1: Introduction: The Problem of What to Wear
2: Searching for a Solution in the late Nineteenth Century
3: Gandhi and the Recreation of Indian Dress
4: Is Khadi the Solution?
5: Questions of Dress in a Gujarati Village
6: Some Brahman Dilemmas
7: Some Peasant Dilemmas (Kanbi and Kharak)
8: Some Pastoralist (Bharwad) and Scheduled caste (Harijan) Dilemmas
9: Fashion Fables of an Urban Village
10: Dressing for Distinction: A Historical Review
Postscript: A Return Visit to India, 1993-1994
AAS South Asia Council: Ananda Kentish Coomaraswamy Book Prize