The “National” Obsession

How important is it for a country to have a a national dress? On list of priorities majority of Nepalis have for the country, it falls pretty low- far behind national commitment to equality, security, health, environment and education. But forget the boring priorities, why miss a chance to further deepen social fractures? Nepal now has a “national dress”, which by the way represents just one part of the country.

The country’s supreme court has decided that Daura Suruwal, Coat and Dhaka Topi is Nepali national dress and thus required attire for formal government engagements.

Well, a court decides what people should wear or what gets the honor of being “the national dress” in this democracy. The people, it seems, cannot be trusted with their fashion choices.

And why Daura Suruwal gets the honor? What about the dress worn by the people in Terai and the mountains? Even in Kathmandu valley, the Newars have their traditional attire- for what reason were these symbols of Nepal ignored?

Daura Suruwal is from the hills, and this does not make it more special than the symbols from Terai,the Mountains and other parts of the country.

Instead of judges deciding on our national dress, let the people follow their customs and traditions. Yes, formal occasions do need a dress code, and that is just a code, we don’t need a “national dress” for that.

And if we have to have a “national dress”, let’s make it “national dresses” and make it inclusive.


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