Web Desk: A controversy erupted in the Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir after an order imposed on banning the use of Kashmir’s cultural dress named Pheran, reported Gulf News.
Phera is a key part of traditional Kashmiri attire. It is a long loose gown worn by men and women. The cloak reaches below the knees is usually made of either wool or jamewar.
In September, the General Administration Department of the Civil Secretariat in Srinagar asked government officials to “be attired in proper formal dress while appearing before any court of law and while attending offices in the State of Jammu and Kashmir and strictly avoid casual or party attire”.
However, the zonal education officer (ZEO) in Langate, following the civil secretariat directive, issued an order last week banning the pheran in educational institutions.
The decision results in furious social media responses
Hashtags like #dontbanourpheran and #pheranlove dominated India’s Twitter trends with many referring to the ban as a cultural onslaught.
Former chief minister of the State of Jammu and Kashmir, Omar Abdullah(@OmarAbdullah) tweeted: “I fail to understand why pherans should be banned! This is a regressive order that makes no sense at all. Pherans are a very practical way of keeping warm during the cold winter aside from being part of our identity. This order should be withdrawn.”
@OmarAbdullah added: “My father and I have worn pherans to official functions many times over the years and will continue to do so, silly government orders notwithstanding. #dontbanourpheran #revokepheranban.”
My father & I have worn pherans to official functions many times over the years & will continue to do so, silly government orders not withstanding. #dontbanourpheran#revokepheranban. pic.twitter.com/nEsjpMd4XB
— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) December 18, 2018
Twitter user @imtiyazpandow posted: “My culture is my identity of being a Kashmiri. Pheran is an integral part of my Kashmiri culture. I need no permissions from anyone to wear it or not. If pheran represents me as a Kashmiri then I pledge to keep this pheranwith me till the last breath.”
Some said it was against India’s democratic principles, to stop people from wearing their traditional attire.
@AbdulkaderMB tweeted: “According to one section if you wanted to live in this country obey their orders blindly right or wrong. Eat what they wish, wear what they like. They treat us like slaves. Shameful for so-called biggest democracy!”
@abrarrasool: “India is a country where multiple cultures are practiced but #pheran is now a problem for them, all of a sudden…why?”
Kashmiris love their ‘pherans’. These loose, warm outer garments are typically worn during winters. They are comfortable, practical and as Kashmiri as lungi is to a Malayali or kilt to the Scottish. Given the valley’s surcharged political atmosphere, and an ongoing insurgency that has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives in the recent decades, the last thing Kashmiris expected is a ban on their beloved ‘pheran’.