March 11, 2012
I write to complain
about the abysmal standards of modesty I am noticing in Indian society. All bad
things — sensationalist TV, obscene movies, diabetes among elders, pick
pocketing, dilution of coconut chutney in Saravana Bhavan — are a result of
Evil Western Influences. However, to my surprise, in this issue of modesty,
even the Great Indian Culture (we had invented Maths and pineapple rasam when
westerners were still cavemen) seems to encourage this.
sir/madam, is that revealing attire is being worn. Deep-neck and sleeveless
tops, exposed legs — and these are just the middle-aged priests! Some priests
are even (Shiva Shiva!) doing away with the upper garment. And I am told some
temple managements even encourage this.
But this is the worst
thing. They are doing this in front of ladies and Gods, with no shame at all.
Just the other day, I saw a priest without upper garments making an offering to
God (which itself is shameful) and then coming out just like that to give
prasadam to the ladies. The whole sanctity of the ceremony is spoilt. Plus,
what evils may result if they speak to the ladies like that.
You have to worry
about a society in which boys and men are allowed to dress this way.
The few who wear full
dhoti and kurta are wearing some thin muslin material through which you can
clearly see the outline of their underwear and banians and sometimes even read
the name of the manufacturer. This is made worse because some young boys are
following new fashions and wearing printed underwear in gaudy colours (Karmam
Some more modest young
people are wearing full pant with shirt and that is much better. However, this
Evil Western Invention called zip is encouraging them to answer nature's call
at the side of the road in full view of the public.
And what is this abomination
called shorts? Is it really necessary that Indian boys need to play sports in
which they have to show their legs? I think they can just stick to games like
chess and cricket (it's not like they are doing well in other sports anyway).
And swimming is another problem. We have a long tradition of bathing with
clothes, why should they wear little Speedos just for this? I think it is just
an excuse to show off their bodies.
But really, I would
like to know what the parents of such boys are doing. Why are they not bringing
up their sons correctly? Maybe all this is because of this trend of working
fathers, who are neglecting their children for the sake of their careers. My
biggest worry is that these boys and men will not be able to get married if
they continue like this. Which mother-in-law would like to visit her daughter
only to be given coffee by a son-in-law wearing a banian exposing his underarm
hair? And that too, Bru coffee since boys are not taught these days how to make
All this immodesty
will also lead to other issues. Once boys realise it is alright to expose, you
don't know where it will end. Boys will be out of control.
I propose that we
start imposing dress codes on Indian boys and men straight away. A good
strategy is to stereotype and call them names based on the way they dress. And
also, any time a boy or man is sexually assaulted, we should completely forget
about the attacker and instead ask questions like “Ah, but what was he
This is the only way
we can safeguard our society.
Suchi works as a technical writer. In her spare time, she does freelance
writing and editing work and also volunteers with the Spastics Society of
Source: The Hindu, New Delhi