Republic Day

“The concept of this procession and exhibition and everything else should be to demonstrate both the unity and great variety and diversity of India…..Each State should represent some distinctive feature of it’s own in the tableaux or in the exhibition or both. Thus the procession would be a moving pageant of India in its rich diversity.” Jawaharlal Nehru in 1952. Quote on Republic Day celebrations from Beyond Belief: India and the Politics of Postcolonial Nationalism, Srirupa Roy.

Today, India’s 66th Republic Day, will see about 25 tableaux from States and Central ministries and departments.

In these 1958 pics the then Prime Minister, Mr. Nehru, poses with Republic Day contingents.  Pics include contingents from the East, North, Centre, Islands, South and West of the country (Manipur, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Andaman & Nicobar, Madras, Kerala, Maharashtra and Rajasthan).

Source: photodivision

Home Science in India and the 1950s

Home Science teacher trainees in Poona in 1957 learn to make rangolis to ‘brighten up” traditional meals, pound rice, scrape coconut, use a “model kitchen” and much more…..including making some kitchen music.

Lots of nine-yard saris in there.


The Bindi Post


The tikli or spangle is worn in the Hindustāni Districts and not in the south. It consists of a small piece of lac over which is smeared vermilion, while above it a piece of mica or thin glass is fixed for ornament. Other adornments may be added, and women from Rājputāna, such as the Mārwāri Banias and Banjāras, wear large spangles set in gold with a border of jewels if they can afford it.  The Tribes and Castes of the Central Provinces of India, 1916. [X]

AKA stick on bindis have a bit of a history. Bindi illustrations of 1916 in Pic 1 are quite varied and interesting.

The extract described one method of making bindis/tiklis/tikka before the ubiquitous stick-on glitter bindi packets of today. These tiklis served as a substitute for sindoor or vermilion in marriage ceremonies though both could be used. Pic 1 is from the text and illustrates the kinds of tiklis that could be achieved with the method described, given the lac base I assume these were then stuck on in some manner.  Pics 2 and 3 (2 from the1950s and 3 contemporary) are probably made by a similar method or approximate the 1916 tiklis.

Per the book Lakheras and Patwas made these tiklis.

The 1930s Post

nalini tarkhadShe wore an exquisite pink sari and the delicate gold thread embroidery on it added to the charm of both.  The vermilion mark and the tiny decorative dots of colour on her forehead and the collyrium-touched eyes added much grace to her. 16 Modern Marathi Short Stories 1961

Nalini Tarkhad in the 1930s. [X]

Other 1930s saris: X, X

Bits n Bobs

Gharara/Sharara…still confused by the many definitions.

Raghu adds a few more explanations to 1950s hairstyles.

Bengal’s laterite soil makes for Japanese dye.

Please admire Waheeda – X and X.

Aya de Yopougon

3Sari Break.

Immigrant Côte d’Ivoire ladies in Paris offer up their honest opinion on leopard prints. From the utterly delightful bande dessinée I am presently reading, Aya: Love in Yop City, set in 1970s Côte d’Ivoire.

Everyone should read Aya of Yop City!

The 1940s Film Post

இது, இது, இது எல்லாம் ஜப்பான். எல்லாம் செத்து ஒரு ரூபாய் கூட இருக்காது!

This, this, this, it’s all from Japan. And all together not more than 1 Rupee!

1940s movies can be a bit amateurish to the modern eye but they can be quite fun and as it happens also have a lot of interesting fashion titbits. E.g. this scene from En Manaivi aka My Wife (1942) which has two maids discussing clothes and employers. The maid with a parasol (Lux Padma aka R. Padma) has a generous employer who has provided her with the entire ensemble. All that fashion forwardness is from Japan*. Apart from the parasol, a stylish accessory in the 30s and 40s there is the sari brooch (horizontal pins are popular in the 30s and 40s), the soft collar, slightly puff sleeve blouse (here in satin) and the finger waved hair. All quite stylish in 1942.

The 1 Rupee price tag  for the entire ensemble wasn’t much apparently even for 1942. The other maid is in a local handloom sari worn in a style prevalent at the time (the pallu is folded down the middle and then tucked in – a style called “madi” aka fold) but one that wasn’t fashionable.

The printed sari with a jazzed up border is probably an affordable version of the saris of the 1930s and 1940s.

*In the 30s raw cotton went from India to Japan and finished textile goods were imported from Japan. The war had an impact on this but Japanese goods were still available cheaply during the war years.

Also from En Manaivi (1942).

Note the actress’s bra, this along with a number of accoutrements in many of her scenes mark her as stylish and upper class – she is pretty much the sartorial standout of the movie. The bra and the drape exposing a part of the bust seems quite daring but was fairly common in films of the decade.  And of course if its the 40s the puff sleeve blouse can’t be far away. This sari too is probably Japanese, at any rate the fabric marks it as foreign

Note also the steel cup and saucer for coffee as opposed to steel glasses suggesting a slightly westernised heroine. Flowers in the hair arranged as here were also common in AVM movies of the 1940s.

The 1940s movies seem to favour a slender type in comparison to the fuller silhouette seen in the 1950s.

For a bit on bras go here.

Notes: En Manaivi was an adaptation of a 1916 Marathi play, Govind Ballal Deval’s Sanshay Kallol. This in turn was adapted from Molière’s Sganarelle. The actress in the screencaps (I think MK Meenalochani but I cannot be sure) is playing Revathi aka Célie.