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Just Shoot Me

Bala, 28, Gordon Gekko in the making, pseudo-intellectual, cynic, bibliophile, obsessive compulsive ranter...

The Gods hate lungis

November 19, 2007

Last week, i went inside the Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple after 17 years. I was showing my friend V around Madurai and what is a visit to Madurai without a visit to the temple?. The temple as i remember from my previous visit 17 years ago is really pretty. The interesting thing that prompted this post happened when we tried to enter the inner pragaram (or whatever the term). There was this board hanging in front of the entrance which had 3 lines on it. Line one said - Video cameras not allowed - Fine enough, we hadnt brought one, so it didnt bother me. Line 2 said - non-hindus not allowed . Ok, i have no problem with this, since they didnt want me inside, i stayed outside while my friend went on to have his darshan. Line 3 was the one that made me angry it said No lungis allowed . Now what do the Gods have against Lungis?. The Lungi (or kaili or saaram as you prefer) is THE most widespread male bottompiece attire in Tamil Nadu and they dont want the Gods to see Lungis!!. This is highly discriminatory - they are fine with vetti which is nothing but a lungi split sideways and they are not ok with the lungis. There are some who might say a lungi is disrespectful since people tend to madichu kattify, but the same thing can be said about vetti too. Highly discriminatory indeed. But again we are talking about the place that woudnt let dalits in till 1939.


posted by Bala, 10:29 AM


Am thinking these could be the 2 reasons:
Explicit reason: Lungi is typically a night outfit. It doesn't have the decorum of a veshti. Veshti is the official dignified dress of tamilnadu.
Implicit reason: Earlier (or even now), Lungi is more used by muslims (not just as a home outfit) and probably want to stop them from entering the temple.
commented by Anonymous Nataraj, 9:54 PM  
Its just the difference between formal and casuals..and the reason is almost similar to that of business dress code...Think about it...[mean while, y do u want to quote something which is a matter of past - the 1939 stuff???]
commented by Anonymous Anonymous, 5:24 AM  

1) formals vs casuals explanation
people wearing bermudas and shorts are not banned. just lungis. they dont ban anything else. If they are going by the decorum criteria, surely bermudas and shorts would have been banned with lungis

2) banning Muslims hmm. could be. But thats taken care of by point no 2 on the board - no non hindus allowed. there is no specific need to go through the lungi route to keep them out

i was pointing out that the temple has a history of illogical practices (if one can describe banning dalits as merely illogical).
commented by Blogger Bala, 8:10 AM  
Every place has a dress code, more so a holy place such as a temple. Lungi, as nataraj has said, is a typical night outfit. Your arguments of why only a lungi is not allowed and not bermudas is quite illogical. By the way, since you are a non-Hindu, why don't you ask the following questions:

a) Why do Muslims wear a white coloured cap (with all kinds of embroidery on it) when they go to pray? Where in the Quran is it mentioned that they have to wear only white caps? Why not go to pray wearing a cowboy hat?

b) Why does the priest in the church dip the bread in wine for baptizing? Why not in vodka or toddy or feni?
commented by Anonymous Anonymous, 2:36 PM  
Anony 2,

"Lungi, as nataraj has said, is a typical night outfit" that would be true for a relatively small percentage of population. In most of tamil nadu lungi is worn as everyday garment by a large number of males. If you are in madurai, you will notice that wearing a "bermudas" or "shorts" to a public place is considered more socially irreverant than wearing a lungi (which is a normal attire here)

"Every place has a dress code, more so a holy place such as a temple"

Thats ok, but why single out lungi alone was my question. There are a lot of temples with stricter dresscodes like guruvayur, but why pick on lungi? that too in madurai.

As i said, Lungi is pretty much an accepted dress here - it is not treated as night dress. so why ban it

And regarding the "why dont you ask other questions", i might if i am personally involved in those situations. As you might have noticed, i write a pretty much first person narrative blog. so if i encounter any such thing i do ask questions. If you browse through my archives i am sure you will find enough posts laughing/wondering at other religions too.
commented by Blogger Bala, 2:48 PM  
லுங்கியை மட்டும் ஏன் தடுக்கிறார்கள் என்றால், இந்த கட்டுப்பாடு கோயில் நிர்வாகத்தால் விதிக்கப்பட்ட காலத்தில் லுங்கி மட்டுமே இரவு உடை (அ) கேஷுவல் டிரஸ் ஆக இருந்து இருக்கும். அப்போது எல்லாம் பெர்முடா , ஷார்ட்ஸ் அணிவது வழக்கத்தில் இருந்து இருக்காது.

நீங்களே சொல்லுங்கள் தமிழ் நாட்டில் பெர்முடா கலாச்சாரம் எப்போது ஆரம்பித்தது என்று.மிஞ்சி போனா ஒரு 10-15 வருஷம் கூட இருக்காது.ஆனால் லுங்கி அதற்கு முன்னரே பழக்கத்தில் வந்து விட்டது.

அந்த காலத்தில் சொன்ன விதியை தொங்க விட்டு இருக்காங்க, மீண்டும் அப்டேட் செய்யும் எண்ணம் இருந்தால் , பெர்முடா, ஷார்ட்ச்கும் தடா வரும் போல( அவங்க சும்மா இருந்தாலும் தடை பண்ண வச்சுடுவிங்க போல இருக்கே)

மதுரையில் மட்டும் ஏன் என்பதற்கு , ஆரம்பக்காலத்தில் மாலிக்காபூர், பின்னர் சந்தா சாகிப் போன்றோர் சூறையாடியதால் ஒரு வெறுப்பு முஸ்லீம்கள் மீது அக்காலத்தில் இருந்து இருக்கலாம், எனவே இரண்டாவதாகவும் அதை அழுத்தி சொல்லி இருக்கிறார்கள் போல!
commented by Blogger வவ்வால், 6:27 PM  
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commented by Anonymous stockproindia, 3:38 PM  
in Kerala, if you go to most of the temple you have to remove shirt/banians/t-shirts before pray. That is the practice they follow.

- Don't impose your fashion on temples.

- Even at Church they follow formal dress.
commented by Anonymous Anonymous, 8:43 AM  

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