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sumangali dress code

From: Srinath Chakravarty (
Date: Tue Nov 21 2000 - 13:54:20 PST

Dear friends:  I'm writing about two posts by Sri M.G. Vasudevan
and Sri. Mani.  The saree blouse is NOT part of traditional Hindu
womens' attire, much less Srivaishnava women.  It is a recent
introduction starting from the late 1800s onwards - when Victorian
thinking British officials deemed it unacceptable for Indian women
to wear saree without a blouse.  My koLLu pAtti never wore a
blouse, and she lived well into my childhood years.

Today we find padams of lakshmi, saraswati, ANdAL and other
thAyArs with podavais and blouses.  This is entirely misleading (not
that we cannot percieve our deities in forms that are pleasing to us,
but because it gives the false impression that blouses were always
in use since ancient times).

STITCHED garments have never been used by Hindus since time
immemorial (only flowing ones which were presumably woven using
the "wheel").  To present them today as if they were always a part
of our traditions is like saying that running water, sanitation,
and modern transport have been available throughout the ages!!

Lastly, many of the so-called standards of "modesty" that are
espoused today are again of Victorian origin - it will serve us well
to remember this so we don't have to re-write our traditions in
order to satisfy the externally imposed requirements of other
(non-vedic) societies.

-Srinath C.

From: "M.G.Vasudevan" <>

First for "sumangali sthree"- [viz. Married women with husband living]
sumangalis after their bath must wear 2 vasthrams in red colour. [one
and another one as jacket].

From: Mani Varadarajan <>

It is interesting to also read the recommendation that sumangalis
wear two garments. I am told by my grandmother and others that
orthodox women in the old days eschewed tailored blouses as a modern
invention, considering them polluting. They only used a single sari
to cover their entire body.

           - SrImate rAmAnujAya namaH -
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