Tuesday, May 18, 2021
Home Indian History & Culture How irrelevant practices of British Raj still hold firm in India

How irrelevant practices of British Raj still hold firm in India

By Ishaa Srivastava

The noted British historian, E P Thomson, had once remarked that India was not an important country, but perhaps the most important country for the future of the world.

All the convergent influences of the world run through this society. There is not a thought, he wrote, that has been thought in the West or in the East, that is not active in some Indian mind.

With its roots entrenched firmly in cultural pluralism, India is a land of baffling contrasts, the alpha and omega of contradictions. This overwhelming attribute of India’s pluralist lifestyle denies the assertion of any singular ‘Indian’ identity. Colonial tenets and practises, some even acquired from the American end of the globe, may be ingrained in our secular setup, but more often than not are fodder for directionless chaos.

In July, 2014 for instance Justice D Hariparanthaman’s choice of attire stirred up a controversy when he was denied entry into the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association Club.

While the club’s dress code only allowed for ‘full trousers, shirts, or T shirts with collars’, the Madras High Court Judge alighted from his official car to the book release, wearing a dhoti. Ms Jayalalithaa Jayaram was outraged, and called the incident an ‘insult to Tamil civilisation and culture.’

Gymkhanas require their members to be ‘prim and proper’, and legitimately hold the right to obnoxiously refuse to entertain anybody who flouts dress code. Membership is stringent and exclusivity is boasted of. However, the matter cannot end here; if clubs hold the right to have strict dress codes, they also cannot host public events like a book release and expect non members to follow suit.

Lawyers’ attire on the other hand, also is an outcome of one such stereotype of being British. History suggests that apart from being sombre, black robes were a symbolic of a mourning period after the demise of Charles II in 1685. For no particular reason, the tradition has prevailed for longer than expected.


Now these instances of course are remnants of a colonial past. The English Sahibs left, but forcibly perpetuated colonial ethos. Macaulay put it in his Minute on Education (1835), ‘Indian in blood and colour, but English in taste, in opinions, in morals, and in intellect.’ Without a national language, and English as our passport for upward social mobility, we are  (a label used with much derision). This western affectation however, has not reconciled with the orthodoxy of social structure. Dress codes which are not suited to our weather or bodies, rules that aren’t hand in glove with our cultural myriad, and a lifestyle that escapes the greater number of our population.




Most Popular

The Medicinal Dragon Fruit Farm In Trinidad

By Shalima Mohammed Richard Cantillon (1680-1734) - the world’s first economic theorist - brought the role of the entrepreneur to the attention of scholars. He viewed...

The Chernobyl Disaster: World’s Worst Nuclear Disaster Explained

BY- JAYA CHOUDHARY The world’s worst civilian nuclear disaster took place when a reactor exploded at the Chernobyl power plant in Ukraine, then part of...

James Clerk Maxwell: “Father Of Modern Physics”

By- Khushi Bisht Despite the fact that they have significantly added to the amount of human intelligence, the identities of thousands of scientists remain largely...

US Remains Top Choice For Indian Students Pursuing Higher Education Abroad

About 67 percent of Indians prefer the US for higher education, reveals a new report by fin-tech platform Prodigy Finance. The report on the...

National Gallery Of Modern Art Initiates Audio-Visual Guide

New Delhi-based National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) has launched its Audio-Visual Guide App. It will be possible for museum viewers to listen to...

Discover The Top Summer Furniture Trends

This summer season is all about staying at home (with lockdowns across the country). Hence, revamping your abode with some furniture trends helps to...

How Does Our Body Defend Itself Against Viral Infections?

UK researchers analyzing the effects of SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing the Covid-19 pandemic, on the human body has provided novel insights into the nature...

How Dressing Up For Work From Home Can Help You

During the pandemic, people's relationship with clothes has shifted significantly, as people prioritize comfort and convenience over appearance. Furthermore, the lockdown has left most...

Recent Comments