DARJEELING, Aug. 27: Indigenous style is replacing western fashion in Darjeeling ever since the GJMM made it mandatory for the people to dress in traditional attire for a month starting from 7 October.
Dhaure suruwal and chowbandi choli have sidelined fancy tank tops and trousers so much so that stocks are falling short of the current demand for these materials. “Sales have doubled in the past few weeks but our present stocks will not be able to meet the demand that is bound to increase by the day. We have ordered for more stock which will arrive in a day or two,” said Mr Rajendra Pradhan, owner of a shop that sells Nepali traditional goods.
In present times there are not many tailors who specialise in stitching traditional garments. This shortage is leading to a lot of harassment and confusion. “We are hard pressed for time and the orders have increased abnormally in the past week. It takes one whole day to complete a single dhaure suruwal. I am working overtime to meet such demands,” said Mr Nar Bahadur Raighain, the only tailor in his shop who makes the dhaure surual traditionally worn by the Nepali men folk. Demands for Tamang dress and Tibetan bokku too have spiralled.
The GJMM’s zeal to encourage “cultural movement” has evoked mixed responses among the Hill people. While some see it as an opportunity to flaunt their culture others are averse to the idea from convenience point of view. “The GJMM’s decision has provided us with the opportunity to wear our traditional dress that we rarely do. My whole family will wear it for Dusshera. It is important to get in touch with our roots,” said Mrs Janaki Subba, a housewife.
But Sheetal Rai, a college student does not quite agree. “I can’t imagine wearing chowbandi choli and Dhaka saree to college. It would be very uncomfortable to walk the distance from Dali to Southfield College wearing those,” she rued.