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By Sunil Koul
The valley of Kashmir in addition to its natural and beautiful munificence has been narrated abundantly by its poets and singers finding its place as a happy amalgamation of various attitudes, ways of life and culture. The assimilative propensities of the land and the people have evolved towards a unique philosophy of life in which the ever-rejuvenating sterling rudiments of every faith have not only found their due place but also prominence. Kashmir is not only known as a ‘Paradise on Earth’ but also a heaven of human values taken as a distinction recognised throughout the globe despite practising different faiths and values. The essence of Kashmir is defined by its rich culture and its warm people. It is equally known for the magnificent ornaments and dresses worn by its people. Ornaments in the valley are not worn for their intrinsic value and beauty alone but for religious reasons as well. The beautiful golden ornament worn by married Kashmiri Pandit women known as Dej-Hor is an important example.
Ornaments in Kashmir are generally made of gold but sometimes precious stones like Opals, Carbuncles, Sapphires, Turquoises and Agates are also studded in the formation and design to enhance the appeal. Though most of these gemstones are brought from outside the region, Emeralds, Sapphires, Agates and Amethyst are indigenous and found within the state of Jammu & Kashmir.
Kashmiri lapidaries are very skilful in their trade and need to be praised for the delicacy and details of their workmanship. The enchanting beauty of Kashmir finds expression in all its arts and crafts. The design on the ornaments are distinct and easily distinguishable from other parts of world. Nature finds its place in the design of this miniature art form. Almonds, Chinar leaves and birds like Myna and Bulbul are prominent.
he goldsmith in Kashmir loves his work and works deep into the night to make the item a thing of beauty. Interestingly, the shape and form of most of the ornaments worn by Pandit and Muslim ladies are similar to a great extent. Some of the principal ornaments worn by Kashmiri women are given below:-
Jiggni and Tikka are worn on forehead and generally are triangular, semi-circular and circular in shape. These are made of gold and silver and are fringed with hanging pearls and gold leaves.
The ornaments of ear namely Atta-Hor, Kana-Door, Jumaka, Deji-Hor and Kana Vaji are studded with turquoise with a fringe of hanging gold leaves and balls. Kana-Vaji is also an ornament of ear studded with stones of different colours with a fringe of small pearls and Jumaka that is a ball shaped ear-ring.
As mentioned earlier, Deji-Hor is an indispensable ornament for married Kashmiri Pandit women who wear it all the time as a mark of wedlock also known as ‘Suhag’. Atta-Hor hangs over the ear of the Kashmiri Pandit married women on either side of the head and is connected by a golden chain running over the head. Kana-Door, another ornament of the ear is worn mostly by the young girls. These ornaments are made of gold and silver and are studded with red and green stones or pearls.
Heritage Kashmir Dresses
The traditional dress of Kashmir is renowned for its embroidery and intricate designs that reflect the rich of the culture and landscape of the region. The attire in Kashmir found similarities with that of Arabia, Persia and Turkistan. It is believed to have been introduced by Saiyed Ali Hamdani in the reign of Sultan Sikandar. The Kashmiri Pandits of the Kashmir Valley too had adopted it. The lower portion of the body was covered with wide trousers called Shalwaar of Persian origin while the upper portion had a shirt called Kamiz with full sleeves. Over this was a short vest coat which was called Sadri. The outer robe was called Chogha and descended to the ankles. It had long loose sleeves and round the waist was a girdle. The head-dress consisted of a small close-fitting cap covered with a cloth. This formed the turban. On festive occasions, silk was worn. Such a dress sense was prevalent among the rich and the wealthier sections of the society.
The dress for the poorer sections has not changed since the medieval times. Men put on a Skull-cap over their shaven heads and did not wear turbans. They cover their bodies with a long loose large-sleeved woollen garment called Pheran, open from neck to the waist and falling down to the ankles with a belt round the waist. The footwear consisted of shoes made of grass called Pulharoo. Some wore sandles made of wood called Khraw. The dress of women was almost the same as that of a man except that they had a fillet on their forehead and above it was a mantilla which fell from the head over the shoulders. The head dress of the Kashmiri women was calledKasaba. The Kashmir Pandit women too used Kasaba but they called it Taranga which was tied to the hanging bonnet, falling to the heels from behind.
Dresses in contemporary times
The dress in Kashmir has presently changed altogether. Like many other cultures and societies, Kashmir too has adopted the modern western ways of living. In spite of this intrusion, the Pheran is still worn by all sections of the people especially in winters to get rid of the chill and hostile weather conditions in region. A Kashmiri usually feels delighted and always extracts pleasure by wearing the Pheran made up of a thick woollen fabric for winter and another one made up of cotton for the summer. This dress has now become popular among the non-residents as well. The Pheran is gaining immense popularity among the visiting tourists that usually buy this dress that has been seen finding its place even in many recent bollywood movies of our film industry.
A Kashmiri feels proud to associate himself with the unique legacy and identity of his land. Even the majority of the Kashmiri Pandits now putting up outside Kashmir in the other parts of the country have not forgotten to use their traditional dress. Most of them still wear the beautiful Kashmiri ornaments. One needs to keep the fact in mind that the cultural identities and the traditional values hardly die down. This stands true for one and all.
(Sunil Koul is a Media & Communications Officer, PIB Jammu)
The symbol of Swastika is known to signify peace, prosperity, and good fortune in the religious cultures of Eurasia. In fact, this symbol is considered very significant in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. But, at the same time, it has become one of the most misunderstood religious symbols and has been globally banned in many countries.
The reason why the symbol of Swastika is banned in many countries is because of its association with Adolf Hitler's extreme political ideology, Nazism, as Swastika as its official symbol.
Austria, France, Latvia, Spain, Germany, and Russia are amongst the many countries that have banned the display and use of the Swastika.
Moreover, last week Victoria in Australia is preparing to become the first-ever state to ban the public display of the Swastika. This is a step towards an expansion of anti-vilification laws in the state.
Representation of the Swastika on the flag of Adolf Hitler's Nazi Movement.Photo by Flickr.
Now, we must know and understand what went wrong with this symbol, which is sacred and signifies all-good things.
For a very, very long time, in India, the Swastika is the first emblem that is worshipped or even drawn before any sacred and auspicious ceremonies as this symbol in Sanskrit represents 'well-being'. But, the Swastika lost all its credibility when it was wrongfully used by Adolf Hitler.
In fact, it is believed that if this symbol is worshipped properly, then it gives positive results. But if it is abused, then it gives negative results. So, when Adolf Hitler rotated the Swastika at 45 degrees, it slowly and steadily brought misery not only to Adolf Hitler and his theory of Nazism but also to all the people who were associated with him.
Therefore, in order to give the kind of respect and credibility which the Swastika deserves, World Interfaith Harmony Week which was held in New York in February this year, interfaith groups appealed to the United Nations to recognize and acknowledge the Swastika as an important and peaceful symbol. In fact, they also differentiated it from the Hakenkreuz or "Hooked Cross" of Adolf Hitler.
India celebrated a historic day on August 7, as 23-year-old Neeraj Chopra became the first Indian to win an Olympic gold medal in athletics. In the men's javelin throw event, he achieved his greatest triumph, throwing the javelin 87.58 meters on his second try.
Neeraj Chopra was born on December 24, 1997, in Khandra village in Haryana's Panipat district. He grew up in a Haryanavi family of farmers. He is the brother of two sisters. He graduated from Dayanand Anglo-Vedic College in Chandigarh and is now enrolled in Lovely Professional University in Jalandhar, Punjab, pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree. Chopra was bullied due to his obesity as a kid, which prompted his father to enroll him in a nearby gym. He then joined a gym in Panipat, where Jaiveer Choudhary, a javelin thrower, noticed his potential and coached him. When the 13-year-old Chopra finished training under Jaiveer for a year, he was enrolled at the Tau Devi Lal Sports Complex in Panchkula, where he began training under coach Naseem Ahmed.
In 2018, he broke the world record in the javelin throw and became India's first-ever gold medalist in the javelin throw. He is also a laureate of the Arjuna Award for 2018. | Wikimedia Commons
Chopra's first international medal came in 2014, as he took home a silver medal at the Youth Olympic Qualification Tournament in Bangkok. In 2015, he set a world record in the junior category of 81.04 meters in the 2015 All India Inter-University Athletics Meet.
Since emerging into the public eye with a historic gold medal at the junior world championships in 2016, he has maintained a high level of performance, setting an Under-20 world record of 86.48m, which still stands. Gold medals in both the 2018 Commonwealth Games and the 2018 Asian Games are among his other accomplishments, including a first-place in the 2017 Asian Championships. In 2018, he broke the world record in the javelin throw and became India's first-ever gold medalist in the javelin throw. He is also a laureate of the Arjuna Award for 2018.
Chopra has also had his share of bad events in life. In 2019, he underwent surgery on the elbow of his right throwing arm, which kept him out of the game for almost a year. However, he returned more robust than ever. In November 2019, he went to South Africa to train from Klaus Bartoneitz. He spent the following year in India training at the NIS Patiala because of the COVID-19 pandemic. He was allowed to go to France with his coach after weeks of trying to get a travel visa.
Neeraj Chopra made history in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics by becoming the first Indian to win a gold medal in athletics. Also, it is worth mentioning that after Abhinav Bindra, Chopra is only the second Indian to win an individual gold medal.
Keywords: Neeraj Chopra, Olympics, Tokyo2020, Gold medal, javelin, India, Haryana
The emergence of the Industrial Revolution in Victorian England brought with it many apprehensions and fears that translated into a new genre in literature: the gothic. Today, the idea of the gothic does not have to much with literature as much as it is associated with fashion.
The Victorians began to wear black more often during the Industrial Revolution to hide the stains of soot on their clothes. Many of the working class were employed in factories. They were newly introduced to technology, the idea of coal as fuel, and the working of machines to serve a certain purpose. This kind of work was hard and messy. Wearing light colours burdened the tired folk when the stubborn stains did not get washed away.
The steam engine was invented to make locomotion easier for the masses, but it brought fear to the people. They had led quiet and simple lives till now, and suddenly their world was infiltrated with loud noises and smoke. Dark places became synonymous with evil deeds and mysteries. It was from this time that horror gained a place in the imaginations of people and artists.
A man sporting gothic clothes and shock coloured hair Image source: wikimedia commons
The gothics of today are those who have held on to these practices. There is no need to fear smoke and noise anymore, but the goths wear black clothes all the time, paint their skin a pale shade, to contrast their clothes, and wear bright shades of red. The traditional gothics decorated themselves with jewellery bearing religious significances, as the belief in Dracula and vampires emerged in the Victorian period. Today, it is a trend to wear studded crosses, or crosses made of black metal either as neck chokers, or earrings.
Modern goths also wear bright monotones to show their patronage of a certain style or order of the goths. They can be seen in neon shades of green, pink, and yellow, often sporting piercings, and matching hair. Their tastes are metallic, and they have an uncanny love for tattoos.
Designers consistently include gothic tastes and styles in their clothing lines to create inclusivity for this subculture. Being gothic, or identifying with them is somewhat a concern even in today's society, and such people are often stigmatised to the extent that it is considered a mental illness associated with the dark arts. The phenomenon is mostly observed in teenagers, and often phases out when they reach adulthood, depending on their sphere of influence.
Keywords: Gothic, Fashion, Victorian, Black, Jewellery