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Turban - The Pride of India


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Most of us do not know that Turban has an Indian cultural heritage!
The whole of India used to wear a Turban. The Sikhs, Rajputs and Marathas were the ones who defied the Mughal diktat that only royals would be allowed to wear Turbans. And the Sikhs undertook the task of freezing the Turban in a time-capsule, so that no law or modernization could take it off.
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Turban - The Pride of India

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  2. 2. 1 “I have traveled across the length and breadth of India and I have not seen one person who is a beggar, who is a thief. Such wealth I have seen in this country, such high moral values, people of such calibre, that I do not think we would ever conquer this country, unless we break the very backbone of this nation, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage, and, therefore, I propose that we replace her old and ancient education system, her culture, for if the Indians think that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than their own, they will lose their self- esteem, their native culture and they will become what we want them, a truly dominated nation” - Lord Maculay's address to the British Parliament, 2 February 1835
  3. 3. Introduction India, the world's most ancient civilization, with a rich and multi-layered tradition has remained unbroken that is largely unchanged for at least six thousand years now. Having faced the onslaught of armies and elements, India has survived every invasion, wars, natural disasters, mortal diseases, epidemic, western influence; but still the culture transmitting its unmistakable imprint down six thousand years to no less than a billion modern bearers, is remarkable. Indians have demonstrated over the period of many centuries, a greater cultural resilience than any other race on earth. The essential basis of Indian culture is its belief in spirituality in the widest and most general sense of the world. An intuitive conviction that the Divine is transcendent in everything permeated in every phase of life. Indian civilization has enriched every art and science known to man; numerals, astronomy, decimal system and lot many in Science and philosophy were both highly developed disciplines in ancient India. However, because Indian philosophic thought was considerably more mature and found particular favor amongst intellectuals of high classes like Brahmins and Kshatriyas, hence it did not penetrate into the general masses resulting in traditional perception that any early scientific contribution came solely from the West, Greece in particular. Jawaharlal Nehru wrote in his book The Discovery of India: "Till recently, many European thinkers imagined that everything that was worthwhile had its origins in Greece or Rome." From the very earliest times, India had made its contribution to the texture of Western thought and living. But until the beginning of European colonization in Asia, India's contribution was usually filtered through other cultures. "Many of the advances in the sciences that we consider today to have been made in Europe were in fact made in India centuries ago." said Grant Duff, British Historian of India. Dr. Vincent Smith had remarked, "India suffers today, in the estimation of the world, more through the world's ignorance of the achievements of the heroes of Indian history than through the absence or insignificance of such achievement." Hence, it has become inevitable to preserve, retain and propagate the rich traditional Indian Culture and Heritage amongst our youth today to ensure that our children imbibe those rich traditional values that the world tomorrow will respect us for. Although there are hundreds of Indian cultural
  4. 4. 1 attributes to be preserved and fostered amongst our youth today, one symbol that portrays regalia and stands for pride and honor since ages deserves the most attention ie. the Turban which in local terms is also called Pagdi, Dastar, Paagh, Pug, Moond-Ves, Ushnisha, Shirostan and so on. Our youth today should be aware of their heritage and should be proud to stand for their culture in this era of rampant westernization and racial profiling. Having built upon this thought, The Kalgidhar Trust – Baru Sahib with 41 CBSE affiliated English medium Schools called Akal Academies, imparting value-based education that is a unique balance of scientific and spiritual education to 32,000 rural students, on the lines of the ancient Gurukul ideology thereby endeavoring to preserve the old rich heritage, tradition and honour of India ie. the Turban. Children in their impressionable young age are deep rooted to the ancient Indian culture; while on the other hand explore the finer aspects of education, science, art and elevated thinking. All of them irrespective of caste, creed, color, sex and race are attired in the traditional Indian costumes of Churidaar, Pajamas, Kurtas and round head wrap. Akal Academies nurture and attract the simplest and most deprived human talent and enable and the atmosphere is distinct, simple with modest uncomplicated approach, rich with the spirit of potential, the heritage of past achievements, and the vitality of inquiry and discovery. The motto is “Simple Living – High Thinking” on the same lines that was prevalent in Ancient India amongst Rishis, Munis, Sages, Gurus and enlightened men. The results of this seemingly innocuous exercise have enabled these students to be an integral part of this culture and shaping society with their leadership, creativity and innovation yet remain firmly rooted to the basic values and stand out with their simplicity and sensitivity. It is our endeavor to bring about an elaborate illustration and research on our traditional headgear that is full of surprises, especially the fact that it existed in the year 10,000 BC. Our humble prayers are that “May the present young generation of India be blessed with more impetus to firmly embed their roots within their rich tradition, culture, heritage and honour” IMPORTANCE OF TURBANIMPORTANCE OF TURBAN PAGRI, PAAGH-PAAGHDI AND SAAFA" IN ANCIENT INDIAN CULTURE AND HISTORY 1. For a long time the humans lived naked and had not yet learnt to produce covering for their bodies. They had to protect their heads against all types of risks. When cloth was invented, the humans started covering all parts of their bodies. They could not have left the head uncovered because it was the controlling centre of the human body. Since 40% of human heat was lost through head, a thick covering, which could insulate the head against inclement conditions and arrest dissipation of heat, was a necessity. Naturally, man copied nature and started using a comparatively thicker and lengthier cloth for his head. The cloth trapped air and thus reduced the loss of heat through evaporation. Just as the shoes were necessary for covering the feet, turbans began to be considered necessary for covering the head. A thick headgear also offered the humans, protection against injury, falling rocks, and accidental falls and later against weapons and masonry. According to old Rishis, Saints and Sages (before Christ); the religious people used to always cover their heads while meditating thereby preserving spiritual energy. Many ancient scriptures tell us, “When energy reaches the head, there are chances of it getting diffused or scattered. If one covers the head with a cloth, the energy does not flow out and in turn intensifies meditation.” Even renowned Hindu Saints of modern India like Lord Swaminarayan of Akshardham, Swami Agnivesh, Swami Vivekananda, Sant Tukaram, Sadguru Jaggi Vasudev, Osho and many others wore Turbans. 2. In ancient Indian society Turban, Pagri, Paagh-Paaghdi and Saafa spoke of a person's / Individual's caste, creed, religion and sect and through his Pagri, an individual's village, town; region & country could be identified. Pagri was instrumental in recognising an Individual's social, economic and political status. 3. In ancient times of Indian history, there are numerous instances of several wars fought for the pride & honour of Pagri. Since Vedic times, the turban epitomized honour and dignity. No individual was allowed to enter the royal court without wearing a turban. 4. "Change the Pagri" - The history is also a witness to several occasions of exchange of Pagri to save its peoples' life & property and to ensure the security of a particular state. To place one's turban at the feet of a king, or any other individual, signified total submission. An Individual's wearing of Pagri symbolised his valour and to secure its pride & honour was considered to be an act of bravery. History shows that, the Maharaja of Jodhpur marched to war with Sabaland Khan, who was Subedar of
  5. 5. 2 3 Ahmedabad, Gujarat. Rivers of blood flowed. Sarbaland Khan was forced to lay down his arms. After this defeat, Sarbaland Khan decided to test his last armour, which was his Pagri. He took off his Pagri and put it on Maharaja Abhay Singh's head. Here again the Pagri proved its strength and power. After the Pagris were exchanged and they became brothers by this custom, Maharaja Abhay Singh respected and followed the dictates of this custom. He allowed Sarbaland to go in peace with his family and also to take with him wealth and riches. It is permissible to let the head be cut but the Pagri, which lies on top of it, must never be disrespected by being bent in front of anyone. 5. The information regarding an individual was evident from the manner in which his Pagri was tied & draped. In ancient times, looking to an individual's Pagri's sheer elegance & tightness, it could be said whether he was brave or coward, an upright man or honest or a thief. This led to the phrase “Aadmi Dastar,Guftar aur Raftar se pachhana jaata hai.” (A man is distinguished by the design of his turban, the manner of speech and the way he behaves and walks among people). 6. An insult of Pagri was equated with the insult of its bearer - as was believed in ancient times. For its pride & honour, the history speaks of several occasions when blows of swords were exchanged for enemies' blood. Trampling a Pagri underfoot is considered highly offensive. Removing the turban by oneself in the presence of another denotes apology or seeking a favour. If the Pagri can be the cause of bloodshed, it can also bind people together. The feuds between Emperor Babar and Rana Sanga, and those between Babar's grandson Akbar and Rana Sanga's grandson Rana Pratap are well known. Rivers of blood flowed and the flames of jauhar rose high in the sky. But over and above all this bloodshed, the Pagri, which signifies respect, brotherhood and status made it possible for the grandsons of Akbar and Pratap's to become very good friends for life. These two exchanged Pagris and became brothers. The Pagri which Shahzada Khurram put on Rana Karni Singh's head is even today present in the museum at Udaipur as a living proof of the custom which they started by exchanging Pagri and becoming brothers. 7. In ancient period Pagri was considered to be a man's prized belongings, invaluable in nature. The term “Pagri ki Laaj” was coined ages back. In the later Vedic period Brahmins were placed above the King in the then hiearchial order of the society. In this regard in the play Charudatta we find that the Brahmins officiating at the sacrificial session of Duryodhara are described as having their feet rubbed by the head-clothes of king - Rajnaam vestana patta ghresta carnah. Thus it was a description of symbolism of submission of Kings to the Brahmins on the occasion of ritualistic sacrifice. 8. In ancient period, Pagri during the times of personal economic crises was mortaged or kept Girvi. 9. The information of a person's death during the war for the country's honour was symbolized when a Pagri of that person was brought with full state honours from the battle field. Trampling a Pagri underfoot is considered highly offensive. Removing the turban by oneself in the presence of another denotes apology or seeking a favour. In north Indian families after the demise of the patriarch, the eldest son is bestowed with the responsibilities of the family, through a ritual known as Rasam Pagri - performed on the thirteenth day after death. 10. In the present age, Pagri has acquired importance in terms of paying "Pagri" to acquire some space or shop for business. 11. In today's time, Pagri has played invaluable role in turning impossible into possible as it is still looked upon as an object of great honour & pride. Donning of the Pagri is mandatory while receiving important guests or being received at a formal gathering. Exchanging of turbans signifies entering into a long-term, cordial relationship. During wedding ceremonies it is customary to present Pagris to the men folk of the bridegroom's family. 12. From this it appears that Turban was an integral part of old heritage and honour of India and amongst the greatest symbols of honour for Indians. Although Indians have been wearing turbans since very old times, with the advent of Sikhism (1469 AD), Turban assumed an important symbol of defiance to the Mughal invaders. Right from its originator Guru Nanak all Sikh Gurus wore turbans. Sikh Gurus emphasized on wearing turbans strictly since they wanted Sikhs to preserve the rich heritage of India in spite of a ban by the Mughal rulers. During Muslim invasion from foreign countries, India was conquered and orders were passed by them that “only ruling classes can wear Turban since it is a sign of royalty”. The ruled classes ie. Hindus and others were not allowed to wear Turbans. Thus the weak minded Indian population residing in North India removed their Turbans as an act of submission to the foreign rulers, to earn their pleasure. But, strong minded Hindus especially the warrior classes of Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Gujarat etc. did not obey the orders of their foreign rulers and kept their heads covered with Turban to maintain their heritage and honour. Sikhs in North India also kept their Turbans intact as part and parcel of their dress code. Thus they revolted against the orders of the foreign rulers to maintain and preserve the old Indian heritage and honour despite having to lay down their lives and sacrifice lots of blood to maintain this heritage and honour. The turban thus became an article of a Sikh's religion, creed, politics, race and nation. Because of their ideal behaviour, a turban wearer Sikh began
  6. 6. 4 5 to be respectfully addressed as Sardar (Chief or leader) in India. 13. For the Sikhs their turban is an integral part of the dress, their identity and a constant reminder of their obligation to the Gurus. It expects the wearer to live up to a certain standard behaviour. It is also considered a symbol of courage and honour. Cowardice or an immoral act is described in Sikh parlance as having sullied the turban. 14. During Mughal period (1526AD-1750AD) restrictions were placed on the turbans and orders were issued to remove the hair. It is said that when Guru Tegh Bahadur was martyred in Chandni Chowk Delhi, people of Delhi dared not come forward to claim his body. The next Guru Gobind Singh is reported to have said, “I will make the Sikhs distinguishable among millions so that they demonstrate their religion openly”. He therefore ordained in 1699 AD that all Sikhs would wear turbans, carry swords and beat drums forbidden to the people. Soon the Sikh turban began to be associated with high moral character, holiness, piety, sovereignty, courage and patriotism. 15. So for the Sikhs, a turban did not remain simply a cultural appendix as it was for all Indians but got inalienably attached with their religion. It came to be regarded as an inseparable part of their dress and any disrespect shown to the turban came to be regarded as an insult to the wearers and their religion. Thus started the movement to save and preserve Indian culture as show of defiance to the Mughal emperors. The Origin and its evolution through ages In India turban has been an essential part of humans since time immemorial irrespective of religion. It was called Moond- 1 ves (Head gear). “Moond” in Indian languages means “Head” and “Ves” means “Dress”. Read Bodhisattva warriors by Terence Dukes But in 1990, the Journal of Indo-European Studies carried an article entitled "Analysis of an Indo-European 2 Vedic head- Fourth Millennium B.C." The life size head has a head gear that the Vedas describe as being unique to the family of Vasistha, one of the great seers who composed parts of the Rig-Veda. Carbon-14 tests indicate that it was cast around 3,700 B.C. See: The great Hindu lawgiver Manu recommended the wearing of a turban. Ketya Simiriti advises that hair should remain covered when eating meals. The Vedas contain references to turbans being worn in ancient India. In Vasishtha Head - Vedic Aryan Head 3700 BC Sanskrit literary texts, there is mention of the Ushnisha, a forerunner of the turban which also doubled up as a scarf to keep the head and neck warm in winter. For the Kshatriya it was simply part and parcel of their all around training, but for the lowly peasant it was essential. We read in the Vedas of men unable to afford armor who bound their heads with turbans called Usnisa to protect themselves from sword and axe blows. Source: Read Bodhisattva warriors by Terence Dukes Sometimes Harappan men wore their hair short and combed straight, or covered by a Turban. The majority of the men were bearded Source: The Ancient Indus Valley By Jane McIntosh In the Rig Veda we find the reference of Head-gear which were sported during Yagnya and those are of varied colours. Similarly,in the Mohenjodaro and Harappan culture we find ample references of head- dresses. Shirostran in ancient times meant a head dress. Shir means head and tran means protection. Thus, head-wrap or Pagri means head- protection apart from being an object of veneration which underwent graded glorification down the ages. However, while tracing the historical development of head-dress one can find that Indian society used head-wraps centuries before the European world took to wearing hats as a part of its regular costume. During the Bizantine civilization in the 11th century A.D. head-dress became a regular feature which was later passed onto the European world, whereas Indian society was sporting head-dress as a regular costume by 10,000 B.C. The first concept of Headdress: (10,000 B.C. to 320 B.C.) In the pre-historic rock sites in India like Bhimbetka to Kumaun Himalaya, we find evidences of rock-arts wherein the lifestyle, amusement, head- gear is found. This is the start from historical point of view and then in the Mohenjodaro and Harappan culture we find the use of headdress. In those days men of higher social strata sported head-wraps which were richly padded clothes of varied shapes. They also had their hair tied with a ribbon. Men and Women of Royal families or Goddesses wore elaborate headgears and coiffure. But commoners did not sport any headgear. We find some descriptions of Indus headdresses which wire fan like structure Ajanta carving showing warriors with turban Harappan Figured with Turban
  7. 7. 6 7 and of spiral form and some were bossed head-dress. In the post-vedic era 600-320 B.C. we find evidences of voluminous head- dresses mostly known as Ushnisha, and it became a common phenomenon. On the other hand, in the Vedic era Pugree was a concept of dignity and authority. The King who claimed sovereignty had to wear a particular type of head-dress at the time of doing Rajsuya Sacrifice. Dr.G.S.Ghurye elaborated that " the head-dress known as Ushnisha is the earliest mentioned in connection with eastern people known in early literature at the 'Vratyas', It is described as white and bright. It used to have cross-windings and was tied with a tilt". Thus the spiral, fanlike shape of Indus head-wrap in the post vedic period evolved into a crossbind Ushnisha studded with Jewels. While in the Vedic era only persons of higher order of society sported Head-dress,and respected highly in the later vedic period. The commoners also earned the right to don head-dress. USHNISHA (320 B.C. to 320 A.D.) In the Sunga period varied kinds of headdresses were developed. It is found that the hair itself was often twisted into the head-dress. According to Roshan Alkazi, the specialist in ancient Indian costume "This twisted braid being then arranged to form a protuberance at the front or the side of the head, but never at the centre top, as this style could be used only by priests. Over the turban a narrow band was used to hold it in place". Pugree or Mauli used to be decorated with jewels and even fringe was attached to the headdress. Another form of Pagri is found which had top knot and two bands of cloth criss-crossed at the middle of the forehead and went upto the top knot covering it. Similar to this style in modern India, Sikhs sport the turban. In this period the females wore a kind of head-cover called Uttariya which had beautiful folded look and tied crosswise but straight unlike the Male head-gear which was vertical or sideways. This Uttariya could be worn having at the back. It is interesting to note that beneath the Uttariya skull cap (Patka) was worn to keep the keep the headdress firm in its place. Apart from these, it is gathered from archaeological sources that different strata of society donned different kinds of head-dresses. For example, the archer of Taxila used to wrap his head with a thin strip of cloth. The attendant of the archer covered his head with NAGA KING [Ajanta, Cave IX] KING AS HUNTER (Ajanta, Cave X) ample piece of cloth which resembled the contemporary head-dresses of an artisan or peasants. From the remnants of Bodhisatva one could find the first pre-formed head dress known as Mandila. And in Sanchi one can see similar head-cover with jewel on the head of Kubera. All these head-dresses underwent some sort of innovations under the influence of foreigners. During this period Pagri came into vogue like the one sported by Kushana Kings which was similar to the bulging head-cover of ancient Persia. However, the Kushana Kings sported shorter head-gear. Hieun-T-Sang's travelogue throw considerable light on the headdress of the people of Sarnath. He wrote ‘the head dress consists in most cases of a filled with a loosely wreath or mural crown into other cases'. Even caps with flower and foliage find mention in Hiuen-T Sang's account. These can be correlated with the discovery of human heads in Taxila, as S.N.Dar wrote "Fragments of human heads have been discovered in the buried city of Taxila, some with round caps covering the entire head and ears, others with low or flat caps with or without fastening band." From archeological evidences we find a clear description of head-dresses especially from Bharhut sculptures, Bhaja and Sanchi remnants. Let we glance through the important aspects in brief which would summarize the developments from 320 B.C. The bas-reliefs of Bharhut Stupa of the 2nd Century B.C. depicting pre-Nirvana Buddha's life provide us vital sources of information on the score of Headdress. The male head wraps were worn in different fashion. One can find richly ornamented light Pagri with a roundish top above the forehead; and some were fan like arrangements with cylindrical protrusion. Evidences of heavy turban with schematic folds and ornamented heavily, were its characteristics. Moreover, some turbans had leaf and rosetta decoration The female head-covers were fancifully rich and ornamented. Even they used nets to give the Pagri a hard grip on the forehead. The headdress of Bhaja cave shows similar trends as we find in Bharhut, but the Bhaja SOLDIERS (Ajanta, Cave X) NAGA PRINCE (Ajanta, Cave IX)
  8. 8. 8 9 Pugs were interwoven with hair style as well. Sculptural remnants of Sanchi Stupa depict high aesthetic specimens of Pagri but are devoid of elaborateness. One type of Ushinsha shows that the upper folds resembled a conch shell. Some Ushinisha had a projection on the Upper part to provide holder or ornamentations. Furthermore, the SANCHI stupa depicted turbans of cylindrical look. Evidences of skull and conical caps are also be found in the sculptures of Sanchi stupa.. These were basic developments of headdresses between c.10,000 B.C. to 320 A.D. which at times were rich and ornamented. People strove to improvise the style of wrapping Pagri and toyed mainly with the idea of top of forehead projections. During this period, there marked tendencies to show off hair style as well. PUGRI UNDERWENT INNOVATIONS (320-A.D. to 1100 A.D) During this period contemporary coins, sculptures and paintings reveal that the heavy voluminous Pagri was dispensed with and small head-dress with rich artistic look came into vogue. Royal nobles paraded varied forms of fanciful head-covers with regional distinctions. The king's crow was studded with pearls called tiara and at times garlands replaced the cloth-wrap which eventually became a part of informal dress. Coins of the Gupta period showed Kushan King sporting helmet as head-gear indicating the then military attire. The nobles, the ministers and other officials sported various types of Pagri displaying their respective ranks and status. Pagri was made of fine muslin and tied over the large hair knot and positioned at the centre of the forehead. Evidences are also found of striped turban which was twisted like rope. Another type was high cylindrical Pagri resembling the Sun god became popular. A near identical cylindrical head-cover is found on the head of Vishnu lying over serpent in Tamilnadu. Four cornered cylindrical caps comparable with modern Goan head cover are alsofound adorning the heads of Indra, Sun God and Vishnu. During the 6th and 7th century the Pallava Kings sported a conical variety of head-dress which was even found in vogue by the nobility of Vijaynagar Attendant Nagarjunakonda dynasty and later on adopted by the Tamil nobles. This was known as 'Kullai' Pugree which was near identical to Pagri prevalent in North India. It denotes that cultural communication between the North and the South took place during this period. Paintings of Ajanta cave throw some light on the contemporary head-dresses which was smaller in size and less stiff.The type of headdress is said to be patronized by the nobility of that period. During this period there was a fashion of wearing a sort of white covering on the head which is supposed to be the precursor of modern Gandhi Cap. On this score Dr.Ghurya observed that 'I think it may be construed as precursor of the white cap of North India 'Bhaya' which, in a slight modified form has been recently known as the Gandhi Cap'. From the archeological site of Kausambi city of 3rd to 6th century A.D. we find enough evidences of various head-dresses and rectangular shape of head-dresses were also in vogue. The Pagri worn by males was fairly of elaborate type and at times ornamented with jewels. Furthermore, in Gupta era tall 'Mukuta' became a fashionable headgear for the royal nobles. It is interesting to note that during this period the people of Eastern India did not use any head-dress, and in the modern times also they go bare-headed. In 'Buvaneswar turbans are rarely seen' remarked the scholar Rajendra Lal Mitra , though on the other hand headgear remained in vogue in other parts of India. Thus in the Hindu period the Head-dress served as a symbol of respect and glorification not only with its symbolism but also with its shape and size. Hereafter, the story of Headdress took different turn with the ushering in of the Muslim era. Guru Gobind Singh ji, gave a fresh definition to Pagri as he augmented the visionary concept of 'Khalsa' which was to fight against the Muslim onslaught and re-establish the lost pride of Indians. The Headdress remained the symbol of pride and the regality of its nature and the pride of the battle field. With passage of time the concept went beyond the 'Martial' race called Khalsa and became a vibrant cultural symbol of Sikh which has spread all over the world today. Even Noble Laurete Rabindra Nath Tagore wrote about Sikh Guru that they decided to sacrifice their head than to allow cutting of their hair. SOLDIER (Gandhara) Chamberlain (Ajanta Cave VII)
  9. 9. Dr.G.S.Ghurya, an exponent in costume history analyzed that the female wore Pagris without any projections. But the male Pagri,was projected vertically, frontal or sideways. However, later on, male Pagri became of appropriate size. Nevertheless, with the passage of time Pagri underwent distinctive changes in its style shape and colour. One wonders whether this headdress is a mere rudimentary functional object to protect the wearer from the heat of the Sun or a safeguard against the biting cold of snow clad mountains! Yet, this Pagri is not a simple head-cover but it has a mystic socio-religious semblance and has served as a customary symbol in man's socio-cultural endeavor. Behind every size, shape or colour of Pagri there is a secret meaning which signifies the origin of wearer, his dialect, religion, caste and as well as his profession. There are strict unwritten laws which govern the use of Pagri. But sordidly enough Pagri in this century is gradually becoming an obsolete object as modern pseudo-urban cultural onslaught dislodging its ancient glory. Thus, at this juncture, it is important to gauge the symbolism of Pagri from the pan-Indian perspective because India is a land of Pagri. Excavating The Genesis Ancient Sanskrit literature is replete with references of Head-dresses and head-wraps were commonly termed as Ushnisha, Kirita, Patta, Vestana, Vestanapatta, Sirovestana etc. Those head-dresses were generally of white color and ornamented as per requirements of status of wearers. Banbhatta's Kadambari throws some light on the material used for Pagri. It describes: "The divine person that arose out of moon at the death of Pandurika had made up the knots of his head-dress with a piece of white fine silk". This reference is related to Sirovestana. C.R.Devodhar while analyzing the role of language in the ancient Sanskrit plays had touched upon the topic of head-dress and wrote in 1937 that 'Yaugandharayana, on the eve of the skirmish that was to ensue between followers of Udayana and soldiers of the king of Ujjain is described as wearing a white turban 'Pandurabaddhapattah'. In the Hariscarita the renowned author Banbhatta fancies the river Mandakini to be a fold in the silken turban of mountain sumera--Amsukosnisapattikamiva Sumeroh. Head-dress was also referred to as 'Kirita' in Banbhatta's Kadambari. The Vidyadhar Bhattacharya Town Planner jaipur princes and Kings gathered round the King Tarapida were wearing Kirita for their headdresses. Furthermore, Banbhatta narrated thus "The followers of Chandrapida too were jewelled Mukuta on their heads". Since the early days the headdress of Kings had been of special significances and essential symbolic ritual on the occasion of coronation. Similarly, in Kalidasa's famous play Raghuvamsa we come across certain interesting details about the preparation for the coronation. It describes "the hair was tied up in some kind of a knot so as to stand perpendicularly, with a pearl- string intermixed with flower garland. Thereupon was fixed a resplendent jewel". As evident from literary sources the King's head-dress was referred to as Ushnisha. This apart from being royal symbol, Vedic people wore it to project its glory. Maitrayani Samhita describes Ushnisha were worn by King, which was a kind of tiara, especially during the Rajasuya and Vajapega sacrifices. R.N.Saletore in his celebrated Encyclopedia of Indian culture said that King used to wear Ushnisha daily. On the score of sporting Ushnisha, Saletora quoted Kautilyas Arthashastra and recorded that "an official called Usnisi was received by troops of women armed with, in the first compartment of his palace. In the second compartment he was to be received by Kanchuki, who presented him with his coat (Kanchuka) and the Usnisi who handed over to him his turban (Ushnisha). He also received like the aged persons and other personal attendants a salary of 60 panas annually". Thus was the glory of Ushnisha. However at times this was termed as Mauli,Vestana of Kings' crown. However, the term Pagri for head-dress is very common today which was presumably coined in the 13th century A.D. In a description of then contemporary account of Chand Bardai we get some glimpses of Pagri. He wrote in c. 1200 A.D. that 'Prithiraja...wore a pagai ornamented with jewels, with splendid toro. In his ear he wore pearls,on his neck a pearl necklace'. On the concept of Indian head-dress, Sir. T.Herver,a seventeenth century traveller, wrote in 1677 that " I find it is the common mode of the eastern people to shave the head all save long hair which superstitiously leave {mine: perhaps bodi or Shikha}at very top, such especially as to wear Turbans, Mandils,Dustars,and Puggarees". The term 'turban' got currency in the 15th and 16 century especially in Persian language, which was pronounced as "Dulband". Its etymology is apparently from 'dul' or pronounced by Arabs as 'tul', or 'volvere' which apply to head-wrap. Perhaps from the Turks it passed on as Tulipant, Tolliban, Turbant, etc. in the European usage of Turban. In 1611, the French Dictionary Cotgrave explained "Toliban" as a Turkish hat of white colour which was even ornamented. Thus apparently the word Turban originated from Persian and the English frequented its use. One l7th century traveler J.B.Tavernier wrote in 1676 10 11
  10. 10. that "Mohamed Alibeg returning into Persia out of India presented sha-sefi the second with coconut about the bigness of an Austrik egg there was taken out of it a Turbant that 60 cubit of calicut in length to make it, the cloth being so fine that you could hardly feel it". Likewise, the use of the word turban for head-dress came into vogue in the medeival era. The head-dress in different regions of India is widely referred to as Pagri but pronunciation differs variedly. So, let's try to understand how today the head-dress is termed in major fifteen languages of modern India. According to the Bharatya Vabahar Kosha, edited by Viswanath Dinkar Narvene the headdress is known in Hindi as Pugree. In Punjabi dialect this is called Seerbund, Pugri and Dastar etc. In Urdu Dustar or Pugree meaning head-wrap. In Kashmiri language Safu or Dustar are common for head-wrap. In Sindhi-speaking belt the headdress is known as Patika or Patuka. In Maharashtra this is called Pugree or Pagota. Gujarati pronounce it as Paghri. In Bengal,Assam and Orissa regions the headgear is called Pugree, Paguree and Pagri respectively. In Telugu speaking belt the Talpag or Talguddred go for head dress. In Tamil it is called Tallippagee. In Kerala the head-wrap is known as Ushnisha or Shriobestana. These are the varied names of Head-dress or Pagri used in various Indian languages. Now we should try to fathom the evolution of Head-dress down the ages. PUGRI FROM 19th CENTURYPUGRI FROM 19th CENTURY Zalawadi Paghadi Bhalpradesh During this period we find turbans of varied kind and some are identical to ancient head-dress.With the European influence pre-formed Pagri also came into fashion. Let us take up the concept of Pagri of different regions of India. In Punjab we find a typical Pagri which is a conical shape called 'kullah' and identical to head-dress of Southern India. This Kullah cap is encircled with a piece of cloth whose end goes back to the neck and is called 'sapha'. In the 19th century we find 'topi' in Northern India which were of varied colors but has a touch of ethnic variations. This close-fitting turban shaped like 'pie crust' and having narrow projecting rime all around. Evidences of a Sindhi Pagri is also found which is of cylindrical in shape and rise above one feet with a flat round rim. These types of Sindhi hats are known as 'Serai Topi or Sirai tope'. In northern India apart from conical Pagri and freshly folded cap we find a white cap which is popularly known as 'Bhayya Cap' in Bombaly it is in fact a prototype of Gandhian cap. However, somewhat similar looking cap is found in the cave paintings of Ajanta which we have referred earlier. During the 17th century Rajasthan became a legendary land of colorful head-dresses. In and around Jaipur during this period middle class Rajasthan used to sport cotton Pagri known as 'Chira and phenta'. On the other hand elite society kept on changing their headdresses. Some Pagris were of 25 mts. long and 20 centimeter wide of dyed and printed cotton fabrics depending upon their socio-economic status. Coormaraswamy while analyzing the Rajasthani head-dress wrote that 'The rajput Pagri appears to have been adopted at the Mughal court already in the time of Akbar, and remains the typical head-dress of both Muslims and Hindus as represented in the paintings of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries; the form is unsymmetrical, slashing backwards and bound by a transverse band of different material. A jeweled malaband may be tied round the turban horizontally, and a plane often richly jeweled or enameled may be worn in the turban itself'. These remarks of Coomaraswamy are vital to understand the whole gamut of Rajasthani Pagri. Gaekwadi Paghadi Maneshahi Chowkdi Gaekwadi Paghadi Paghadi of Shamal Becharnagar Seth-Vadodara State Scindia 12 13
  11. 11. In Rajasthan each community wore different type of Pagri in each district. In Udaipur Pagri we find a flat surface mainly and in Jaipur the turban has a knot on the top. Moreover, noblemen did sport a 'lepeta' a sort of small narrow piece of embroidered material of gold work. However, in Rajasthan it is said that no two Pagris are same as tying techniques undergoes change from wearer to wearer. In western India, especially in Maharashtra and Gujarat voluminous and loosely rolled turbans remained vogue and some can even be seen today at social gatherings. There were pre-formed turbans or freshly bound 'pheto' Pugree. Dr.Ghurye quoted from folklore to emphasize the importance of decking a Pagri: A PAGHADI OR TURBAN is the ornament of male. Nine coloured Padhdi is a choice present'. In Southern India though wearing of head-dress was not a fashion but according to P. Thomas 'on ceremonial occasion, they wear long coats and turbans'. However, except the Brahmins other classes of people in Andhra, Tamil Nadu sported fresh folded Pagri. Dr Ghurya once wrote 'In the districts bordering on Karnataka and Andhradesa in the districts remote Paghadi of Maharaja of Kutchh Khengarji Scindiashahi Karbhari Paghadi Paghadi of His Highness Sir Sayajirao Gaekwad III Paghadi of Shri Haribhakti Nagar Seth (Vadodara State) Saurashtra Paghadi Lachhadar Maneshahi Muslim Paghadi from this area, it was an apology for this grand article, being merely a small piece of cloth just wrapped about the head.’ It is interesting to note that in Bengal and Orissa there were many illustrious Pagri in 18th and 19th century but today the whole thing has became extinct. Though in social occasions, they wear some sort of headgears but common people only use 'angocha' to cover their heads. In India the headgear of Sanyasi, Fakirs enthuse a special interest. This subject was never attempted by anybody. The safforn colured 'Patka' is perhaps universally practiced amongst sanyasis of which Vivekananda's pug is the right example. Varied headgears, of Padris, Fakirs and Maulanas are of unique importance of academic address. In modern days pugs are sported at least on marriage occasions. Various pre-formed headgears like Topor in East the 'Sehra' of North or 'wrap up' pugs of other places of India is a unique dimension which is to be properly documented. Amongst aboriginal or Tribal indigenous people, there are some hundreds types of headdress available, which are yet to be documented in a systematic manner. These are some broad outlines of Pagri or head-dress of India which had a beginning in the distant past and yet not an absolutely dying fashion in Limdi Paghadi Targala "Bhavaiya" Paghadi Garola Paghadi Rajputana Feta Vaniya Paghadi Jain Vaniya Paghadi 14 15
  12. 12. 16 17 modern India which is crossing over to 3rd Millennium. This subject has a great scope of holistic in-depth multi-disciplinary study which is pregnant with immense potentiality for further explorations. Source: (Clockwise).. Rajasthani Vania Paghadi, Kapole Vaniya, Paghadi, Marwari Paghadi, Gujarati Brahman Paghadi (Clockwise).. Kadva Patidar Paghadi, Kathi Paghadi, Poonashahi Brahman Paghadi, Paghadi of Shri Kashirao father of His Highness Sir Sayajirao Gaekwad (Clockwise).. Vora Turban, Feta, Paghadi & Topi (Clockwise).. Kumbhar Paghadi, Suthar Paghadi, Muslim Bhadbhuja Paghadi, Pinjara Paghadi Some Heritage Pictures Of TurbanSome Heritage Pictures Of Turban In the context of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre one can find a picture of the notorious 'Crawling Lane' where a Punjabi Hindu elderman is forced to crawl under the threat of the bayonet but even then his traditional headdress is held high in silent symbolic protest. Waghya Mendicants Pardhans Mang Musicians Kunbi tribesmen
  13. 13. 18 19 Swami Vivekanand Mahatma Gandhi 1918 ANAND MARGA FOLLOWER Shaykh Nazim, Grandmaster of Naqshbandi Sufism Rani Laxmi Bai of Jhansi Tukaram was a prominent Marathi Sant and religious poet in the Hindu tradition in India. Former President of India Dr. S. Radhakrishnan Sir C.V. Raman Physicist Nobel Prize winner Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev Osho Rajnish Adi Shanakracharya The Shankaracharya of Kanchi Dagdusheth Sahajanand Swami under the holy Neem Tree Lord Swaminarayan Gunatitanand Swami 1st spiritual successor of Lord Swaminarayan. He was the incarnation of Aksharbrahman, the choicest devotee of Parabrahman The Inspirer and Present Guru of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha Shastriji Maharaj & Yogiji Maharaj Bhagatji Maharaj second spiritual successor of Lord Swaminarayan after Aksharbrahman Gunatitanand Swami. Ganapati Pune Year 2006 with Puneri Pagdi The First Meeting between Swami Jnanjivandas and Shastriji Maharaj Swaminarayan (or Shreeji Maharaj) with santos & haribhaktos. Picture of original painting taken at Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Ahmedabad
  14. 14. 20 21 NOW THE TURBAN IS FOUND THE WORLD OVER NOW THE TURBAN IS FOUND THE WORLD OVER Dost Mohammad Khan (1793-1863) ruler of Afghanistan, c1880. Bayezid I (d1403), Sultan of the Ottoman empire from 1389. Before the Birth of Guru Nanak Dev Ji Mohammad Akbar Khan, 19th century Baghdad, Iraq 1917-1919. Portrait of Egyptian Man The Tribute to Caesar 17th century, (1870). Negresse Mina, Brazil, 19th century. Aswan, Temple Of Philae A Lady putting on her cap , June 1795. Portrait of a Serious Young Man Wearing a Headscarf Portrait of a Man, Luxor, Egypt Ba man wearing white turban; portrait; senior; farmer; small rural ... Young woman wearing turban, portrait Portrait of a Man, Egypt Morocco, Sahara Desert, man leading camel on desert dunes, rear view Arabian Nights Man. Amran. Yemen Burmese Woman Boy with a gun, Aden Protectorate, Arabia, 1936. Artist: Fox Adivasi from Mokhada performing acrobatics on the beats of the drum ... Mien Hill Tribeswoman Sewing
  15. 15. 22 23 African woman wearing church choir gown Portrait of a mature woman in a hilly area. African woman smiling with arms up Man Wearing Turban Senegal Africa Mouttouvira Soupraya 1828. Kasi Das Prasad Ghosh, Indian poet, 1834. Tribal men wearing turbans & robes outdoors, Mazar E Sharif Pakistan, Punjab, Derawar Fort, Portrait of elderly man wearing ... Dubai, Arabian Man Edfu Temple, Egyptian Men Sadhu Holy Man India Copte, Egyptian , 1880. Kurdish hunter, 19th century. Bulgarians, 19th century. Portrait of a sadhu Mural painting of an Ottoman Emperor. Kas. Turkey Jambiani beach, women. Zanzibar Island. Tanzania Intha old man Inle Lake. Shan State. Myanmar. Traditional dress. Havana. Cuba Bedroom scene, 15th century, (1910). The Slave Market in Morocco, 1888. Artist: Richard Caton Woodville II Musician Agades Niger Africa A portrait of Nepalese man, Nepal. Slippers , Somerset House, London, 1805.
  16. 16. 24 25 A Bosnian peasant, c1890. Girl with a Pearl Earring , c1665. Santousa , 1828. Timbuktu, Mali, Sahara desert, Touaregs on camels Turkish Bey, of Bitless, Kurdistan , 19th century. Artist: Unknown A group of Tuareg men talking, Tamanrasset, Algeria. Women of the Pa O tribe laughing, Shan state, Myanmar. Gut-dressing works, Bukhara, Uzbekistan, c1890. Armenian Gospels: portrait of the patron of the manuscript and his ... A Turkish Gentleman , 19th century. The Prayer during one Night of Ramadan , 1881. A Tuareg man sitting in the Sahara desert, Algeria. Myanmar (Burma), Yangon (Rangoon), An elderly Buddhist monk looking ... Tunisia, Djerba, men riding horses. A woman & a man with colourful headdresses, Algeria. A street conjurer in Algiers, 1895. Artist: Richard Caton Woodville II “Let us pledge to preserve this rich old ancient Indian Heritage through our children and keep the country’s honor intact for times to come”