Sunday July 22, 2018

Religion and Conversation – Haldi and Hindu women in Trinidad

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Image source: knowyourindianroots.blogspot.com
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By Annesha Das Gupta

In the above video, Dr. Kumar Mahabir -an anthropologists and faculty at the University of Trinidad and Tobago, talks about his findings on the link of Hindu women and ecosystems. It may be noted that Trinidad and Tobago is home to a huge Indian diaspora. Out of 1.3 million population of Trinidad, at least 550 thousand (5.5 Lakh) people have their ancestry rooted in East Indians.

One should not be astonished, at such an approach because of the strong connection that has been exhibited by the village women with their surrounding lands, is a common knowledge for centuries in India. For instance, the famous Chipko Movement, will give a proper idea of what is been talked about here. Similarly, Mahabir, wants to explain that how some of the essential medicinal plants has been on the verge of being extinct and a unique formulation of insight by the conservationists can save us much time.

This, he states, can be done by studying the affinity which the Hindu women shares with the ‘scared’ plants like Haldi and Tulsi. Though, Mahabir here specifically concentrates his research on the cultural and religious aspects that the plant of haldi or turmeric (Curcuma domestica), still have its hold on the Indian community. And of course how it can help in sustaining, our floundering biodiversity.

While being on it we can give out some inputs that has been mentioned in Mahabir’s findings about the importance of turmeric –

  • His ethnographical researches suggest that the Hindu families readily grow this common herb in their gardens and also share it among their community.
  • The community holds the item more as an object of religious rites than as a sacred herb.
  • The plant is readily used as an ingredient in cosmetics, medicine and food.
  • In Hindu marriages, a turmeric paste, consisting of grounded stems mixed with coconut oil is applied, covering the whole body of both the bride and the groom, on the day of their marriage. This tradition indicates an aspect of the herb which is believed to have properties to increase a person’s fertility.
  • Among the medicinal benefits, there is the coating of the lower abdomen of a woman who has just given birth. It is to known to have firm the skin. While, the stems are also boiled with milk (Haldi Doodh) and drink to cleanse the stomach.
  • Other than that the mixture is used as a means of gaining a brighter complexion and still is widely popular among the womenfolk of the community.

Dr. Mahabir, wants us to acknowledge the opening of doors in the ecological research by delving into the relationships that the religious groups fosters with different herbs and plants that were used to be found easily in their backyards and thus being an almost indispensible part of their daily lives.

To give out a brief in his own words, he opines that ‘Little research has been done in the Caribbean and elsewhere on the inter-connections between religious practices and environmental protection. It is widely known that many medicinal plants face the imminent threat of extinction, as the world advances towards an ecological crisis. Hindus use hardi/tumeric (Curcuma domestica) more as an object in religious rituals than as a sacred item. They also use the plant as an ingredient in food, cosmetics and medicine. This paper uses ethnographic research to investigate exactly how Hindu women ritualists in Trinidad use, cultivate, and conserve the plants in their gardens for ready use at home and in the community. In their tireless attempts to promote biodiversity, conservationists may have adopt a new approach by working with religious groups, and demonstrate to the public at large how plant protection is related to religious values.’

This article has been prepared by Annesha DasGupta with input from a video produced by Dr. Kumar Mahabir. Follow Annesha on twitter @Dancingbluepen

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Experts Suggest Trending Footwear Fashion For Men and Women

Getting the perfect footwear which has both comfort and style is difficult, but important. Invest in loafers, colourful slip ons and pair them with the right attire, as suggested by experts. Bhavya Chawla, Chief Stylist at Voonik and Surabhi Agarwal, head of merchandising, Crocs India have listed few trending footwears

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Loafers are known to be the laid back version of a dress shoe and are best for a cocktail party for men. These shoes are versatile and comfortable.
Representational image. Pixabay

Getting the perfect footwear which has both comfort and style is difficult, but important. Invest in loafers, colourful slip ons and pair them with the right attire, as suggested by experts.

Bhavya Chawla, Chief Stylist at Voonik and Surabhi Agarwal, head of merchandising, Crocs India have listed few trending footwears:

* Flats are a must-have for casual wear. They are comfortable shoes and very versatile. They come in different colours and patterns and can be worn with jeans, capri pants, maxi dresses or any other wear.

To battle the extremely hot summer, slip-ons can be a saviour. Slippers, flip-flops, slides and open-toed pairs are in trend making the summer look not only chic and stylish but also perfect fit for the season. Speaking of prints and colours, keep it light and pick hues of purple, white, peach and mint.

As for men, a white pair of sneakers is an essential wardrobe item. It can be perfectly paired with most jeans.
Converse Sneakers. pixabay

As for men, a white pair of sneakers is an essential wardrobe item. It can be perfectly paired with most jeans. For a summer vibe, pair your casual shoes with light blue jeans. High top trainers/sneakers are also a huge trend this season. Suede or a coloured loafer will also go very well with your casual attire.

* Every woman should have absolutely drop-dead gorgeous evening shoes. Invest in a silver high-heel sandal, elegant black evening shoes or a multitude of other styles. Peeptoes, this heel should be preferably three to four inches.

This shoe is for dressing up either for going on a date, dinner, or even the company party. The open toe part of the shoe makes you look more stylish. You can pair these shoes with dresses of all kinds, skirts, and high waist trousers/pants.

Loafers are known to be the laid back version of a dress shoe and are best for a cocktail party for men. These shoes are versatile and comfortable. You can wear a loafer with a tuxedo if you choose, or with a pair of khaki pants and a t-shirt.

* The classic black pumps are apt for officewear. This can be worn to the office, work and to any other occasion, one can think of. The shoe should have a heel of two to three inches depending on preference.

This shoe is for dressing up either for going on a date, dinner, or even the company party.
Ladies heels. pixabay

Do not wear black with every colour. There is always a need for other neutral hues like brown, taupe, or beige. However, choose navy if you have clothing in those colour schemes. It can be a low heeled shoe that is also a closed toe. This shoes should be versatile enough to wear with trousers, slacks or even a dress.

If you are not a heel person, then bellies or ballerinas in solid colours are also a good option.

For men, Oxford shoes, brogues will make your outfit seem more formal. Combine a pair of slim navy jeans (cuffed at the bottom), with your favourite pair of dress shoes.

For a less formal tone, wear a pair of brown shoes. Black formal shoes will seem more formal and may appear strange when combined with jeans, match them up with trousers or chinos with a well-fitted shirt. Don’t forget to wear the appropriate pair of socks.

* When going on a beach choosing the right pair of footwear is the vital part. You want your feet to feel comfortable and cool and it should match with your summer dress, shorts or bikini as well.

Oxford shoes, brogues will make your outfit seem more formal. Combine a pair of slim navy jeans (cuffed at the bottom), with your favourite pair of dress shoes.
Brogues. Pixabay

Flip flops are one of the most appropriate choices but there are different styles which you can choose from. You can try out metallic flats as well.

Also Read: Trends That Will Rule Fashion in 2018

Dark florals are in fashion to beat the summer woes. Evening outfits will work best with dark floral slip-ons and slides. Just slip in and go for beach hopping, sunset strolls or pool parties.

For men, the easiest choice is flip flops. They are comfortable and easily available and very effective for their intended purpose. Pair them up with shorts, t-shirts or tanks. Throw on an unbuttoned short sleeve shirt over the top when you walk off the sand for a more stylish look. (IANS)