Pedong, Aug. 21: Bimal Gurung today asked all communities to wear their traditional dresses during the tourist season to show that the Darjeeling hills were different from the rest of the state.
The dress code will be in force for a month starting October 7, the day the Morcha was formed in 2007.
Tourists, who are expected to visit the hills during the festival period, will get to see the difference, Gurung told a meeting here, 30km from Kalimpong town.
Terming the dress code a “cultural movement”, the Morcha president said all the communities in the hills were free to wear their traditional dresses. However, while school students are “exempt”, college students will come within the loop of the “cultural movement”.
In Darjeeling, 85km from here, Binay Tamang, the media and publicity secretary of the Morcha, said there were three specific reasons for launching this programme. “We want all communities to wear their traditional dresses to show how different we are from the rest of Bengal. The dress will also show unity prevalent in the diversity.” The third reason, the Morcha leader added, was aimed at creating a different Darjeeling for the tourists. “Even frequent holidayers to Darjeeling would have reason to come back to a different hills,” said Tamang.
The Gorkhas, Bhutias and Lepchas are the three prominent communities residing in the hills. All of them have different dresses and dialects. Even among the Gorkhas, there are several sub-communities such as the Rais, Gurungs, Newars, Tamangs, Subbas and Limbus who have their own dialects and dresses. Traditionally, however, the Gorkha dress is associated with daura sural.
Residents are worried that there are not enough tailors in the hills to stitch the “new” clothes. The Morcha, however, thinks that this would not be a major problem.
“These days we can get readymade dresses from Nepal. Moreover, most people do get clothes stitched for Dussehra and these will come much cheaper than the jeans that we mostly wear,” said Tamang.