Clothing & Cosmetics  > What is in a Dress?


An "EYE OPENER" from SanthiDoota, a Gandhian magazine in Southern India


The well-to-do and fortunate lot should willingly forego some luxuries of life enabling the government to provide the necessities of life to the poor and weak.


- Mahatma Gandhi


We want to ensure that food, shelter and clothing are available to all hard working citizens and the aim of all our efforts and policies should be to make them available in the order mentioned and to an extent that the resources of the Nation and the creativity of its people permit. People of a country can only share what the country owns or its people produce


India is spending thousands of crores of rupees on Textiles, manufacture and distribution, and clothing is receiving major attention, time and money form everyone. How much is it costing the Nation in catering to the fancy of some to dress beautifully and attractively? Is the best in the interests of the Nation being done?


The army, police, industrial workers and players in matches are given uniforms as it promotes a feeling of unity and equality in fighting as one man. School children are made to wear uniforms to keep the young minds pure and free from any complexes. Will not wearing of similar if not entirely identical dress by all the citizens of a country help in making them forget the differences in caste, creed and community? Will it not help in inculcating a sense of unity and togetherness? Making all people wear one and the same type of dress may be taking things too far in a democratic State, but is it good to ignore the tremendous advantages obtained by regulating the production of all clothing in a few plain colors?


Let us study in depth the implications of the myriad designs and patterns in which clothing is now being produced. No two Indians are ever dressed alike! As technology develops new fibers and blends can be introduced as it may not be desirable to prevent those who can afford to buy better and costlier varieties of clothing but we cannot altogether ignore the huge unnecessary loss to the country's economy by the production of myriad perplexing designs and prints. While permitting the manufacture of different grades and qualities of cloth, regulating the production of all verities, of cloth in a few plain and good looking colors will bring revolutionary benefits as explained below.


1. As one enters a cloth show room today, he/she is dazzled by the countless varieties and designs of cloth the owner takes pains to exhibit, to score over the neighbors in catching the eye of the buyer. Buyers are so much enamored of purchasing new material daily introduced that in a market at least 60 percent of the shops are cloth shops. If all clothing is ordered to be produced in a few plain colors this unseemly and ungainful competition disappears, and some of these shops may close down releasing greatly the pressure on market space and accommodation. With only few standard varieties to choose from, the buyer's task becomes quick, easy and simple and there will be no need for the whole undesirable long search for attractive and alluring designs. Moreover, there will be no scope of buyer being prompted or tempted to buy good-looking but of inferior quality stuff. As a result our overcrowded and congested bazaars will get tremendous relief, and many of these shops can be put to better use.


2. 75 percent of the attendants engaged in enticing the buyers will be found in excess and they can be diverted to better jobs elsewhere.


3. Buyers who now take hours in selections and bargaining will find the job done in a twinkle. The time money and energy thus saved all over the country amounts to some hundreds of crores of rupees.


4. Since only few plain colored cloth is in use the tailors can utilize the cloth more efficiently.


5. Simple dress keeps the mind free of tensions and jealousy and it will bring about a tremendous change in People's outlook and mentality.


6. Since the varieties are very few, the shops need no more maintain dead stocks running to Lakhs of rupees. Thus thousands of crores of rupees of worth cloth locked up in the show cases of all these shops will be released for investment in other projects. Lot of money spent on show cases is also saved. Similarly the producers, distributors can bring down their stocks by a big quantity.


7. Since no motivation is required for making people buy, money spent on illumination decoration and publicity is all saved. Big and costly show-rooms are no more needed and anyone with few thousands can enter the cloth business.


8. Manufacturing costs will come down as the mills need not constantly strive to introduce bewitching varieties every day and their performance will be steadier.


9. Since only few colors of cloth is available individual expenditure on clothing will be more than halved and hundreds of crores worth material now locked up in the wardrobes will be invested for better purpose.


The money, man-days, time and energy thus saved amounts to staggering sums. Is not it desirable to save this amount, and divert it to nation building projects like Power Generation, Family Planning etc.? What sense is there in allowing a city like Madras to suffer cute shortage of water for want of funds for decades, letting hundreds of crores idle in the show rooms of its mammoth cloth shops and in thousands of wardrobes of its citizens? All the well-to-do people should forego the luxury of dressing 'dearly' as they realize the tremendous advantage the Nation gets, if all Indians take to simple dress.


Unfortunately it was not realized that cloth control is more important than Gold Control. Had the Indian government promulgated cloth control soon after the independence, India would have been an altogether different country by now. Mahatma Gandhi is the one person who foresaw clearly the policies India should pursue if peace, stability and progress are to be ensured. The tremendous advantages of a simple dress which he advocated can be easily appreciated.