23 Short Questions and Answers on Clothing in Medieval Times
1. Why are clothes important?
Clothes are important because they reflect social norms that define the identity of people, the way they see themselves and the way they want others to see them.
The associations which campaigned for women’s dress reform in 19th century in America were:
(i) National Woman Suffrage Association headed by Mrs. Stanton.
(ii) American Women’s Suffrage Association dominated by Lucy Stone.
The women’s movements demanded-simplify dresses, shorten skirts and abandon corsets.
The causes for change in male and female clothing in colonial India were:
(i) Influence of western dress forms and missionary activity.
(ii) Cloth and clothes became very important symbols of the Indian National Movement.
The Indians during the freedom struggle searched for a national dress to define the cultural identity of the nation in symbolic ways.
6. Why was Chapkan considered the most suitable dress form?
Chapkan was considered the most suitable dress because it combined the elements of Hindu and Muslim dress, the two dominant communities in India.
7. Which movement during India’s struggle for Independence was linked to the politics of clothing?
The Swadeshi movement in Bengal during 1905-1908, was linked to the politics of clothing.
8. Name some textile centres in India which declined due to British colonial policies.
Murshidabad, Masulipatnam and Surat were some of the textile centres which declined due to British colonial policies.
9. What is khadi?
Khadi is coarse cloth made from homespun yarn.
10. Under what name did the saree style begun by Jnanadanandini Devi become popular?
The saree style begun by Jnanadanandini Devi becomes popular as Brahmika Sari.
11. What did khadi symbolise during India’s struggle for freedom?
Khadi comes to symbolise purity, simplicity and poverty. Wearing it also become a symbol of nationalism, self reliance, self confidence and rejection of western mill made cloth.
12. Give any two reasons why traditional feminine clothes were criticised in the 1830s in England.
(i) Traditional feminine clothes of women were restrictive. It was felt that tight dresses and corsets caused deformities and illness among young girls and affected blood circulation. (ii) Muscles remained underdeveloped and spines got bent. Corsets then became necessary to hold up the weakened spine.
13. Give two reasons why traditional feminine clothes were criticised in America.
(i) In America long skirts were criticised as it swept the ground, in the process collected filth and dirt which caused illness.
(ii) The skirts were voluminous, difficult to handle and prevented women from working and earning. It was felt if clothes were comfortable and not cumbersome women could earn a living.
14. What were the demands of the National Women Suffrage Association?
The National Women Suffrage Association was headed by Mrs. Stanton and the American Women Suffrage was dominated by Lucy Stone.
(i) Both compaigned for dress reform.
(ii) Both wanted to simplify dresses, shorten skirts and abandon corsets.
The Shanars were a community of toddy tappers who had migrated to Southern Travancore. They worked under Nair landlords and regarded as ‘sub-ordinate caste’.
Restrictions: They were forbidden from using umbrellas, shoes or wearing gold ornaments. They were also expected to never cover their upper bodies before the upper castes.
The Tagore family experimented with designs for a national dress for both men and women.
Rabindranath Tagore suggested that instead of combining forms of Indian and European dresses, India’s national dress should combine elements of Hindu and Muslim dress. Thus ‘Chapkan’ (a long buttoned coat) was considered the most suitable dress for men.
Unlike women, men switched to more convenient western clothes because they wanted to maintain a difference between inner and outer world. Western clothes helped them to identify with the British and created better job opportunities.
Sumptuary laws emphasised social hierarchy. These laws prevented those considered as socially inferior from wearing certain clothes, consuming certain beverages and hunting game in certain areas.
(i) Parsis and (ii) Dalits.
Indians wore turbans as mark of respectability and to protect themselves from heat.
(i) Heavy and restrictive underclothes were discarded. (ii) Skirts became shorter.
(iii) Trousers came to be worn by women. These enabled greater freedom of movement.
(i) Sign of rejection of British mill made cloth and self reliance.
(ii) Symbolised purity, simplicity and poverty of Indi
(i) Political control helped the British manufactures to flood the Indian market with cheap machine made textiles.
(ii) India was forced to export her raw cotton, to feed British textile mills, while the Indian weavers remained starved of good quality raw cotton.