Scrolling through my Facebook feed on a lazy Sunday afternoon, I come across a picture of this handsome gorgeous man, Indranil Halder, Ambassador of Fashion and Multicultural Australia (FOMA),standing tall and proud in his traditional ‘Dhoti’.
Indranil has started a dhoti movement in Sydney to raise awareness about the history , heritage and human connection symbolised by this iconic garment of the East, the Dhoti.
Dhoti is a nine yard loincloth styled artistically in sartorial elegance.The project is called Dhoti Sutra. His motive behind this movement is to keep this dhoti style alive in all its tradition and transform it to make it a style statement in society.
And why not when the great artist, Sourendro Mullick, wears a dhoti whilst playing the piano. The well-known bass guitarist, Paul Jacob, has made the ‘Dhoti’ an extension of his stage persona and also a style statement of his band named Funky Bodhi, formed in 1997.
My personal tryst with the ‘Dhoti’ began during my family vacation where I met my Dadu (Grandfather), Late Shri Dinesh Ranjan Dhar. He was a noble & honorable Forest Officer who could be seen wearing the ‘Dhoti’ at all times.
In 1930, my Dadu managed British owned tea estate in hills of Assam. Reminiscing down my memory lane, the sepiatic memoirs of him are so subtle and nostalgic, yet, so close that,I can almost touch them. My mum often told me stories of how Dadu was a philanthropist who took care of the villagers in times of need. During heavy monsoon, when the local river would flood, men, women & children would flock to his hilltop bungalow for relief, rest and recovery. He would nurture them and provide them with unlimited shelter. His humanitarian acts were inspiration to many.
My Dadu always wore crisp white cotton Dhoti with thin black boarders,matched with a white cotton shirt and black shoes. Rain or shine, forest road, mountain track or an urban road, the dhoti was comfort and style in perfect harmony. He was a hundred percent traditionalist by choice and we loved it. The way he wore dhoti by tying the knot and wrapping the loincloth around the legs stylishly holding one end of the fabric with his left hand, certainly gave him an air of dignity.
In today’s age where sustainable fashion has taken centrestage, I can’t help but wonder if we can revive the art of wearing a Dhoti with sophistication, style & pride and also inspire the younger generation to do so.
So for me, question of the day is : Can we make dhoti an acceptable part of men’s fashion no matter whether they are attending parties in prestigious Indian private clubs (no longer part of the British Raj )or in the Sydney social scene?