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Clothing: A Social History

. NCERT TEXTBOOK QUESTIONS
Q.1. Explain the reasons for the changes in clothing patterns and materials in the eighteenth
century.
Ans. After the 18th century, the colonisation of most of the world by Europe, the spread of
democratic ideals and the growth of an industrial society completely changed the ways in
which people thought about dress. People could use styles and materials that were drawn from

other cultures and locations. Western dress styles for men were adopted worldwide.

Q.2. What were the sumptuary laws in France?
Ans. From 1294 to the time of the French Revolution in 1789, the people of France were expected
to strictly follow the sumptuary laws. The laws tried to control the behaviour of those
considered socially inferior, preventing them from wearing certain clothes, consuming certain
foods and beverages, and hunting game in certain areas.

Q.3. Give an example of any two examples of the ways in which European dress codes were
different from Indian dress codes.
Ans. European dress codes were different from Indian dress codes. Let us take the example of the

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turban and the hat. The two headgears not only looked different but also signified different
things. The turban in India was not just for protection from the heat but was a sign of
respectability and could not be removed at will. In the western tradition, the hat had to be
removed before social superiors as a sign of respect.

The shoe is another example. The Indians took off their shoes when they entered a sacred
place. The British did not do so.

Q.4. In 1805, a British official, Benjamin Heyne, listed the manufactures of Bangalore which
included the following :
Women’s cloth of different musters and names

Of the list, which kind of cloth would have definitely fallen out of use in the early 1800s

Ans. Muslin would have fallen out of use as machine cloth had flooded the Indian markets and was
cheaper. Muslin was expensive and hence was not used. In fact, the Industrial Revolution
brought about a complete change in which muslin cloth had no place.

Q.5. Suggest reasons why women in nineteenth century India were obliged to continue
wearing traditional Indian dress even when men switched over to the more convenient
western clothing. What does this show about the position of women in society?
Ans. Women in the 19th century India were obliged to continue wearing traditional Indian dress
even when men switched over to more convenient western clothes. This clearly shows that
women during that time were accorded a lower status than men in society. They were not
allowed to be aware of what was going on outside the house and were confined within the four
walls of their homes. Modernity and change were not for them.

Q.6. Winston Churchill described Mahatma Gandhi as a ‘seditious Middle Temple lawyer’




..........Coarse chintz

..........Muslins

..........Silk cloths.
and why?

now ‘posing as a half naked fakir.’
What provoked such a comment and what does it tell you about the symbolic strength
of Mahatma Gandhi’s dress?


Ans. Mahatma Gandhi went to the Viceroy’s house clad in a dhoti. This signified the symbolic
strength of his dress. It showed the pride he had for his nation and its people, especially the
peasants. It also signified how he identified with his people and the strength he derived from

them.

Q.7. Why did Mahatma Gandhi’s dream of clothing the nation in khadi appeal only to some
sections of Indians?
Ans. Mahatma Gandhi’s dream was to clothe the whole nation in khadi. But it was not easy for
everyone to follow in his footsteps. Not many could take to a single peasant loincloth as he
had. Some could not afford khadi which was expensive and some preferred to be dressed in
finer cloth of various colours and designs.

3


OTHER IMPORTANT QUESTIONS (AS PER CCE PATTERN)


B. MULTIPLE CHOICE QUESTIONS [1 MARK]
Q.1. Which of these changes came about in dressing styles after the 18th century?
(a) People dressed according to their regional codes
(b) Dressing was limited by the types of clothes and the cost of material available in their
region
(c) Clothing styles were strictly regulated by class, gender or status
Ans. (d)

(d) People could use styles and materials that were drawn from other cultures and locations
Q.2. The existing dress codes in Europe were swept away by
(a) American Revolution (b) French Revolution
(c) Russian Revolution (d) The First World War
Q.3. State the period when people of France were expected to strictly follow the ‘Sumptuary
(b) 1300 to 1799 (c) 1308 to 1800 (d) 1350 to 1809
Q.4. Which one of the following is the most appropriate definition of Sumptuary Laws?
(a) Laws on taxes framed by the government
(b) Laws giving privileges to higher sections of society
(c) Laws meant to emphasise the social hierarchy (d) All the above
Q.5. Which of these sentences is not correct about medieval France?
(a) The items of clothing a person could purchase was regulated not only by income but by
(b) The material to be used for clothing was legally prescribed
(c) Everybody could wear expensive materials
Ans. (b)

Laws’?

(a) 1294 to 1798
Ans. (a)

Ans. (c)

soical rank

(d) None of the above
Q.6. Simplicity of clothing was the symbol of which of the following in France? (CBSE 2010)
(a) Liberty (b) Fraternity
Ans. (c)

(c) Equality (d) None of these
OR

The simplicity of clothing of ‘Sans-Culottes’ was meant to express

(a) the poverty among the common people
(b) the prosperity of textile industries
(c) the idea of equality
(d) none of the above
Ans. (c)
Q.7. Which of the following were among the things that became a symbol of equality and
liberty among the French people?
(a) The colours of France–blue, white and red
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(b) The red cap
(c) Revolutionary cockade pinned on to a hat
(d) All the above
Ans. (d)
Q.8. England passed a law which compelled all persons over 6 years of age, except those of
high position, to wear woollen caps made in England on Sundays and all holy days. What
does this mean?
(a) All sumptuary laws were meant to emphasise social hierarchy
(b) Some sumptuary laws were passed to protect home production against imports
(c) Some sumptuary laws were made to promote the religion
(d) None of the above
Q.9. In Victorian England why were women from childhood tightly laced up and dressed in
(CBSE 2010)
(a) they were dutiful and docile
(b) these clothes helped in creating the expected image of girls
(c) women were trained to bear and suffer
(d) women looked graceful in these dresses
OR
How did clothing play a part in creating the image of frail, submissive women?

(a) From childhood, girls were tightly laced up
(b) When slightly older, girls had to wear tight fitting corsets
(c) Tightly laced, small waisted women were admired as attractive, elegant and graceful
Q.10. When did women in England start agitating for democratic rights?
(a) 1820s (b) 1830s (c) 1840s (d) 1850s
Ans. (b)

stays, because :

Ans. (d)

(d) All the above
Ans. (d)
Q.11. Who said the following, ‘It is evident physiologically that air is the pabulum of life, and
that the effect of a tight cord round the neck and of tight lacing differ only in degrees
... for the strangulations are both fatal. To wear tight stays in many cases is to wither, to
waste, to die.’
(a) The Registrar General in the Ninth Annual Report of 1857
Ans. (b)

(b) Martha Somerville (c) John Keats (d) Thackeray
Ans. (a)
Q.12. On what grounds were the traditional feminine clothes criticised in the USA?
(a) Long skirts swept the grounds collecting filth and causing illness
(b) The skirts were voluminous and difficult to handle
(c) They hampered movement and prevented women from working and earning
(d) All the above
Ans. (d)
5


Q.13. Which of the following associations in the USA campaigned for dress reform in the
1870s?
(a) National Woman Suffrage Association (b) American Woman Suffrage Association
(c) Global Woman Suffrage Association (d) Both (a) and (b)
Ans. (d)
Q.14. Who was the first American dress reformer to launch loose tunics?
(a) Mrs Amelia Bloomer (b) Martha Somerville
(c) Queen Victoria (d) None of the above
Ans. (a)
Q.15. When and where was ‘Rational Dress Society’ started?
(b) 1881, England (c) 1882, France (d) 1883, Russia
Q.16. Radical changes in women’s clothing came about due to the
(a) Russian Revolution (b) World War I (c) World War II (d) Both (b) and (c)
Q.17. Which of the statements given below is correct?
(a) After 1600, trade with India brought cheap and beautiful ‘chintz’ within the reach of many
(b) During the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century, cotton clothes became more
accessible to people in Europe
(c) By the late 1870s, heavy, restrictive underclothes were gradually discarded
Q.18. Which of the following events had an impact on the dressing style of women? (CBSE 2010)
(a) Women working in industries during the First and Second World Wars.
(b) Gymnastics and games entered school curriculum for women.
(c) The Battle of Waterloo (d) Both (a) and (b)
(a) 1880, USA
Ans. (b)

Ans. (d)

Europeans

(d) All the above
Ans. (d)
Q.19 Why did the clothes get shorter during the First World War?
(a) Shortage of cloth
(c) New dressing laws were passed
Q.20. Which of the following were among other important changes that came about for
women?
Ans. (d)

(b) Out of practical necessity at workplace
(d) None of the above
Ans. (b)

(a) Trousers became a vital part of western women’s clothing
(b) Women took to cutting their hair short for convenience
(c) As women took to gymnastics and games, they had to wear clothes that did not hamper
movement
(d) All the above
Ans. (d)
Q.21. Who were the first among the Indians to adopt the western-style clothing? (CBSE 2010)
(a) Christians (b) Parsis (c) Gujaratis (d) Maharashtrians
Ans. (b)
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Q.22. To some Indians western clothes were a sign of
(a) progress (b) modernity
(c) freedom from poverty (d) both (a) and (b)
Ans. (d)
Q.23. Dresses in India were defined by
(a) sumptuary laws (b) caste system (c) both (a) and (b) (d) none of the above
Ans. (c)
Q.24. Why were Shanar women attacked by Nairs in May 1922?
(a) For wearing a tailored blouse
(b) For wearing a cloth across their upper bodies
(c) For wearing gold ornaments (d) For using umbrellas
Q.25. When was slavery abolished in Travancore? What did it result in? (CBSE 2010)
(a) 1855, frustration among upper castes (b) 1865, shortage of labour force
(c) 1867, end of caste system
(d) 1895, permission to Shanar women to cover the upper part of their body
Q.26. Wearing of which two things created misunderstanding and conflict between the British
(a) the wearing of turban and shoes
(c) the wearing of saris and dhotis
and the Indians?
Ans. (a)
(CBSE 2010)
(b) the umbrella and gold ornaments
(d) The wearing of gowns and long skirts
OR

Wearing of which two things created misunderstanding between the British and the

(a) Turbans (b) Hat (c) Shirt (d) Both (a) and (b)
Ans. (b)

Ans. (a)

Indians?

Q.27. Which Governor General asked the Indians to remove their shoes as a mark of respect
before him?
(a) Ripon (b) Hastings
Q.28. Who was Manockfee Cowasjee Entee?
Ans. (d)

(c) Amherst (d) Wellesley
Ans. (c)

(a) A taxpayer (b) A revenue collector (c) An assessor (d) A technocrat
Ans. (c)
Q.29. Which of these statements are correct about the cultural symbols which Indians began
to devise to express unity of the nation?
(a) A debate began over the design of national flag
(b) Poets wrote national songs
(c) The search for a national dress began
(d) All the above
Ans. (d)
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Q.30. What was the idea of national dress as suggested by Rabindranath Tagore?
(a) Combination of Hindu and Muslim dress
(b) Combination of Indian and European dress
(c) Only Hindu dress (d) Combination Hindu and Parsi dress
Ans. (a)
Q.31. In the late 1870s, Jnanadanandini Devi, wife of Satyendranath Tagore, adopted ______
(a) British style of skirt and blouse (b) Rajasthani style of Ghagra-Choli
(c) Parsi style of wearing sari (d) None of the above
Ans. (c)
Q.32. Jnanadanandini Devi’s style of wearing sari was adopted by Brahmo Samaji women and
came to be called (CBSE 2010)
(a) Brahmika sari (b) Brahmo sari
Ans. (a)
(c) Samaji sari (d) Bhoomika sari
OR
Jnanadanandini Tagore is associated with :

(b) Brahmika Saris
(c) Community of toddy tappers (d) Partition of Bengal
Q.33. In the first decade of the 20th century, which movement in Bengal was linked to the
(a) Khilafat movement (b) Swadeshi movement
(c) Bardoli satyagraha (d) Champaran satyagraha
Q.34. In reaction to which measure of the British did the Swadeshi Movement begin?
(a) Partition of Bengal in 1905 (b) Surat split in 1907
(c) Starting of World War I in 1914 (d) Montague-Chelmsford Reforms of 1919
Q.35. Which of the statements are not correct about the Swadeshi movement?
(a) The use of Khadi was made a partiotic duty
(a) Sans Culottes
Ans. (b)

politics of clothing?

Ans. (b)

Ans. (a)

(b) Women were urged to throw away their silks and glass bangles
(c) Rough homespun cloth was glorified in songs and poems to popularise it
(d) Men were allowed to wear the British-made clothes
Q.36. According to Gandhiji, which kind of dress would have a more powerful political effect?
(a) Western style
Ans. (d)

(b) Indian style
(c) Dressing unsuitably (d) Dressing suitably for the occasion
Ans. (c)
Q.37. Where and why did Gandhi first appear in a lungi and kurta with his head shaved, in
1913?
(a) London, to attend the Round Table Conference
(b) Durban, to protest against the shooting of Indian coalminers
(c) Natal, to show Indian style of dressing
(d) None of the above
Ans. (b)
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Q.38. In which year did Gandhiji adopt dhoti?
(a) 1913 (b) 1915
Ans. (c)
(c) 1921 (d) 1928
Q.39. For Mahatma Gandhi, khadi, white and coarse, was a sign of
(a) purity (b) simplicity (c) poverty (d) all the above

Ans. (d)

Q.40. Why did Mahatma Gandhi adopt loin cloth and a chaddar as his dress? (CBSE 2010)
(a) it was easy to wear (b) it was not easy to practise
(c) he believed that poor peasants could not afford more than that
(d) it was a political statement of self-respect
OR
Gandhiji’s decision to wear loin cloth only (and chaddar if necessary to protect his body)
throughout his life was seen by him as

(a) his duty to the poor (b) saving country’s resources
(c) giving in to the wishes of Britishers (d) none of the above
Q.41. Which of the following Indians was associated with the case of defiance of the shoe(
CBSE 2010)
(a) Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar (b) Manockjee Cowasjee Entee
(c) Mahatma Gandhi (d) Sir M. Visveswaraya
Q.42. Many Dalits from the early 1910s began to wear three-piece suits on all public
(CBSE 2010)
(a) a political statement of self-respect
(b) they were more comfortable in western style suits
(c) they did not like Khadi as it was a coarse material
Ans. (c)

Ans. (a)

respect rule?

Ans. (b)

occasions as :

(d) they wanted to imitate the British
Q.43. Many women reformers in India changed back into traditional clothes as : (CBSE 2010)
(a) faced by persistent attacks, they decided to conform to conventions
(b) they found the new style of clothing too stylish
Ans. (a)

(c) new style of clothing did not fit them well
(d) there were no good tailors to stitch the new style of clothing
Ans. (a)
Q.44. Which one of the following statements about women's fashion in the twentieth century
is not true? (CBSE 2010)
(a) women started wearing trousers and blouses
(b) women started wearing jewellery
(c) women started wearing shorter skirts (d) women started wearing sober colours
Ans. (b)
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Q.45. A long, buttoned coat is called
(a) coat (b) suit
Ans. (d)
(c) maxi
(CBSE 2010)
(d) achkan
Q.46. What was a cockade?
(a) a fashionable dress of France
(c) a skirt worn upto the knee
(b) a cap that usuall(d) a type of fur
(CBSE 2010)
y wore on one side

Ans. (b)

Q.47. Which among the following is associated with sumptuary laws in France? (CBSE 2010)
(a) only the members of royalty and aristocracy could wear expensive clothes made of ermine,
(b) promoted for hunting game in certain areas
(c) laws were not strict towards social inferiors
(d) socially inferior were allowed to wear ermine, silk or brocade
Q.48. The women in Victorian England wore tightly fitting corsets when they slightly grew
(CBSE 2010)
(a) because the women could not move freely
(b) it was considered fashionable
(c) because it gave shape and support to the figure
(d) because women were expected to be serious, independent and aggressive
Q.49. Which of the following sections of society lamented that those women, who had given up
traditional norms of dressing up, no longer looked beautiful? (CBSE 2010)
(b) revolutionaries (c) liberals (d) conservatives
Q.50. Who among the following headed the American woman suffrage association?
(CBSE 2010)
(c) Mrs. Stanton (d) None of these
silk or brocade

Ans. (a)

older :

Ans. (c)

(a) radicals
Ans. (d)

Ans. (c)

(a) Lucy Stone (b) Amelia Bloomer
C. SHORT ANSWER TYPE QUESTIONS [3 MARKS]
Q.1. Why is most of the knowledge about clothes inferential?
Ans. Most of the knowledge about clothes is inferential because clothes do not reveal anything
directly. Clothes indirectly reveal the attitude, personality and socio-economic status of the
wearer. Moreover, we can only draw inference about attitudes, styles, personality and
socio-economic conditions of the people who wore various kinds of clothes in the past.

Q.2. Give one reason why clothes could have developed.
Ans. One important reason why clothes could have developed are the rules devised by societies
about the way in which men, women and children should dress or how different social classes
and groups should present themselves. These norms came to define the identity of people, the
way they see themselves, the way they want others to see them.

10


Q.3. In what way do clothes give a message?
Ans. Clothes do give a message, as the clothes of Sans Culottes did. They were men without knee
breeches different from the aristocrats who wore kneelength breeches. Their clothing, loose
and comfortable along with colour of France — blue, white and red – was a sign of patriotic
citizens. Gandhiji made homespun khadi a symbol of national sentiment and his dress code of
short dhoti was his way of identifying with the poorest Indian. Khadi became a symbol of
purity, simplicity and poverty.

Q.4. What does Sans Culottes mean? What did it signify?
Ans. Sans Culottes literally means those ‘without knee breeches.’ Members of the Jacobin clubs
called themselves Sans-Culottes to distinguish themselves from the aristocracy who wore

Q.5. What did a patriotic French citizen wear in France after the French Revolution? (CBSE 2010)
Ans. French patriotic citizens in France started wearing clothing that was loose and comfortable.
The colours of France blue, white and red became popular as they were a sign of the patriotic
citizen. Other political symbols too became a part of dress : the red cap of liberty, long trousers
and the revolutionary cockade pinned on to a hat. The simplicity of clothing was meant to
express the idea of equality.

Q.6. Explain the Sumptuary Laws.
OR
What were the sumptuasy laws in France? Explain.
Ans. Sumptuary Laws were those laws which imposed certain dress codes upon members of
different layers of society. These laws tried to control the behaviour of those considered social
inferiors preventing them from wearing certain clothes, consuming certain foods and beverages
and hunting game in certain areas.

Q.7. Explain how European dress codes were different from Indian dress codes.
Ans. In different cultures, specific items of clothing often convey contrary meanings. This creates
misunderstanding and conflicts. Consider the case of the : turban and the hat. These two
headgears not only look different but also signify different things.

The turban in India is not just for protection from heat but is a sign of respectability and cannot
be removed at will. In the western tradition, this has to be removed before social superiors as

knee-breeches.

[2011 (T-2)]


a sign of respect.

Q.8. Mahatma Gandhi’s dream of clothing all Indians in khadi didn’t fructify. Why?
"Responses to Mahatma Gandhi's call to wear kadi were mixed." Justify the statement.
OR (CBSE 2010)


[2011 (T-2)]


Ans. Mahatma Gandhi’s dream was to clothe the whole nation in khadi. He felt khadi would be a
means of erasing differences between religions, classes, etc. Nationalists such as Motilal
Nehru, a successful barrister from Allahabad, gave up their expensive western-style suits and
adopted Indian dhoti-kurta. But these were not made of khadi. Unlike Mahatma Gandhi, other
nationalists such as Baba Saheb Ambedkar never gave up the western-style suit. Many Dalits
began in the early 1910 to wear three-piece suits and shoes and socks on all public occasions
as a political statement of self-respect. A woman wrote to Mahatma Gandhi from Maharashtra,
‘‘I tried to adopt khadi, but khadi is costly and we are poor people.’’ Other women like
Sarojini Naidu and Kamla Nehru wore coloured saris with designs, instead of coarse, white
homespun khadi.

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Q.9. Discuss the witty answer of Mahatma Gandhi about his dress. What did it signify?
Ans. Gandhiji wore a short dhoti without a shirt when he went to England for the Round Table
Conference in 1931. He refused to compromise and wore it even before King George V at
Buckingham Palace. When he was asked by journalists whether he was wearing enough clothes
to go before the King, he joked that ‘‘the King has enough on for both of us.’’ This was the
reason for Gandhiji's witty remark about his dress.

Q.10. ‘Mahatma Gandhi’s experiments with clothing sum up the changing attitude to dress in
the Indian subcontinent.’ Explain.
Ans. The most familiar image of Mahatma Gandhi is of him seated, bare-chested and in a short

dhoti, at the spinning wheel. He made spinning on the Charkha and the daily use of khadi, a
coarse cloth made from homespun yarn, very powerful symbols. These were not only symbols
of self-reliance but also of resistence to the use of British mill-made cloth. Mahatma Gandhi’s
experiments with clothing sum up the changing attitude to dress in the Indian subcontinent. He
usually wore a shirt with a dhoti or pyjama and sometimes a coat – as a boy from a Gujarati

When he went to study law in London and also as a lawyer in Johannesburg, South Africa, he
wore western clothes. On his return to India in 1915, he decided to dress like a

In 1921, he adopted the short dhoti, the form of dress he wore until his death. This he did as
he felt it was his duty to the poor.

Q.11. How did styles of clothing during Victorian Age in England emphasise differences
between men and women?
OR
Distinguish between man and women on the basis of style of clothing in Victorian
[2011 (T-2)]
Ans. Women during this time were groomed from childhood to be docile, dutiful, submissive and
obedient. Men were supposed to be strong, serious, aggressive and independent. These ideals
were visible in the way they dressed. Girls were dressed in stays and were tightly laced up.
They also wore tight fitting corsets. These clothes restricted their growth and kept their mould

‘Bania family’.

Kathiawadi

peasant.

England.

small and frail. Slim and small waisted women were admired. This was not so in the case of
boys and men.

Q.12. Apart from emphasising social hierarchy, what did the sumptuary laws focus upon?
Ans. Some sumptuary laws were such that compelled all people who were six years and above to
wear woollen caps on all holy days and Sundays. Only people in very high posts were exempt.
This law was passed to protect the English woollen industry. Such laws protected home

production against imports, as during that time velvet caps made of material imported from
France were becoming popular. This law remained in force for 26 years and helped in building
up the English woollen industry.

Q.13. How did the French Revolution end all distinctions imposed by the Sumptuary laws?
(CBSE 2010)
OR
What changes could be seen in clothing after the French Revolution?
Ans. After the French Revolution, it was income and not class which decided a person’s clothing.
Men and women began to wear loose and comfortable clothing. The colours of France became

12


popular as they were considered a sign of the patriotic citizen. The red cap of liberty, long
trousers and the revolutionary cockade pinned on a hat became fashion — these were political
symbols. Simplicity of clothing was meant to express the idea of equality.

Q.14. What changes were visible in women’s clothes after the 17th century?
Ans. Before the 17th century most women in Britain possessed very few clothes made of flax, linen
or wool. These were very difficult to maintain. Soon trade with India introduced the Indian
chintzes which was easy to maintain. This was also within the reach of many Europeans.
Cotton clothes became more accessible to a wider population as mass manufacture was now
possible due to the Industrial Revolution. By the early 20th century artificial fibre also

revolutionised clothes. Designs also changed; tight and restricted undergarments were
discarded. Skirts became shorter and less cumbersome.

Q.15. With the help of an example show how cultural difference in dress can create
Ans. Let us take the example of headgears — a turban and a hat. Both although headgears signify
different things. Turbans are not only for protection from the sun but also worn as a mark of
respectability. It cannot be removed at will. The hat is for protection and is removed in front
of seniors and superiors. This difference created misunderstanding between the turban wearers,

i.e. the Indians and the hat wearers, i.e. the British. When the Indians walked into English
company they did not remove their turbans as they wanted to assert their national and regional
identity. This at times offended the British.
Q.16. Describe how introduction of new material and technology changed the clothing patterns
[2011 (T-2)]
Ans. Before the 17th century, most ordinary women in Britain possessed very few clothes made of
flax, linen or wool. After 1600, trade with India brought in cheap, beautiful and easy-tomaintain
Indian chintzes within the reach of many Europeans. They could now put on various

Moreover, due to Industrial Revolution in the 19th century, Britain began the mass manufacture
of cotton textiles. Cotton clothes became more accessible to a wider section of people in

misunderstanding.

in Britain.

kinds of dresses.

Europe. By the early 20th century, artificial fibres made clothes cheaper and easier to wash and
maintain. In the late 1870s, heavy, restrictive underclothes were discarded in favour of dresses
which were lighter, shorter and simpler.

Q.17. What changes came in women clothing as a result of the two world wars? [2011 (T-2)]
(i) Many European women stopped wearing jewellery and luxurious clothes. As upper-class
women mixed with other classes, social barriers were ecoded and dresses of women
Ans.

became similar.

(ii) Clothes got shorter during the First World War out of practical necessity. About 7 lakh
women who were employed in ammunition factoreies wore a working uniform of blouse
and trousers with scarves, which was gradually replaced by khaki overalls and caps. Bright
colours faded from sight. Clothes became plainer and simpler. Skirts became shorter and
trousers became a vital part of women's dress. Women also took to cutting their hair short.
(iii) A plain and austere style came to reflect seriousness and professionalism. When
Gymnastics and games entered school curriculum, women had to wear clothes which did
not hamper movement.
13


Q.18. Why did women in the 19th century continue to wear Indian dress even when men
switched over to the more convenient western clothing? [2011 (T-2)]
Ans. Women mostly remained within the four walls of their homes. So they were comfortable
wearing Indian dresses. On the other hand, men went out to work and were influenced by
western clothing. Moreover, India was then a traditional and orthodox society. Western clothes
were a sign of modernity and progress.

Q.19. Describe Mahatma Gandhi's experiment with clothing during his lifetime. [2011 (T-2)]
Ans. As a boy he usually wore a shirt with a dhoti or pyjama, and sometimes a coat. When he went
to London to study law as a boy of 19 in 1888, he cut off the tuft on his head and dressed

in a western suit. On his return, he continued to wear western suits with a turban. As a lawyer
in South Africa in the 1890s, he still wore western clothes. In Durban in 1913, Gandhi first
appeared in a lungi and kurta with a shaved head as a sign of mourning to protest against the
shooting of Indian coal miners. On his return to India in 1915, he decided to dress like a
kathiawadi peasant. In 1921, during the non-cooperation movement, he adopted the short dhoti
or loin cloth with a chaddar. This dress he continued to wear until his death.

Q.20. During 19th century in England and America, what changes in women clothing took
[2011 (T-2)]
Ans. In the nineteenth century, Britain began the mass manufacture of cotton textiles which was
exported to many parts of the world. Cotton clothes became more accessible to a wider section
of people in Europe. In the late 1870s, heavy, restrictive underclothes were gradually given up.
Clothes got lighter, shorter and simpler.

Q.21. Mention the movements started by women for the dress reform in America. Why were
the traditional feminine clothes criticised? Give reasons.
Ans. In America, a movement developed for dress reform amongst the white settlers on the east
coast. In the 1870s, the national Women Suffrage Association and the American Women
Suffrage Association both campaigned for dress reform. The argument was – simplify dress,
shorten skirts, and abandon corsets.

Traditional feminine clothes were criticised on a variety of grounds. Long skirts swept the
grounds and collected filth and dirt. This caused illness. The skirts were voluminous and

place?

[2011 (T-2)]


difficult to handle. They hampered movement and prevented women from working and
earning. The argument was, if clothes were comfortable and convenient, then women could
work, earn their living, and become independent.

Q.22. What are corsets? What types of problems were associated with it by the French women?
[2011 (T-2)]


Ans. Girls had to wear tight fitting corsets. Tightly laced, small-waisted women were admired as
attractive, elegant and graceful. Corset was meant to confine and shape her waist so that she
appeared narrow waisted. But corsets caused deformities and illnes among young girls. Such
clothing restricted body growth and hampered blood circulation. Muscles remained
underdeveloped and the spines got bent. Doctors reported that women complained of acute
weakness, felt languid, and fainted frequently.

Q.23. How clothes were used by Mahatma Gandhi as a powerful weapon to protest against the
British rule? Mention any three points. [2011 (T-2)]
Ans. (i) Initially he adopted the famous loin cloth and a chaddar as an experiment during the Non


14


Cooperation movement. But soon he realised this as his duty to the poor, and he never
wore any other dress.

(ii) He consciously rejected the well-known clothes of the Indian ascetic and adopted the dress
of the poorest Indian.
(iii) Khadi was to him a sign of purity, of simplicity, and of poverty. Wearing it became also
a symbol of nationalism, a rejection of western mill-made cloth.
(iv) By putting on the dress that he did, Gandhiji could easily get identified by the millions
of poor Indians as one of them.
D. LONG ANSWER TYPE QUESTIONS [4 MARKS]
Q.1. How were clothes of the 18th century all over the world different from clothes of the
Ans. In France, in the 18th century sumptuary laws controlled the clothing style. After the French
Revolution, it was the income, the difference between the rich and poor which decided what
people were to wear. In England and America and other European countries, women from
childhood, as young girls were tightly laced and dressed in stays. As women they had to wear
tight fitting corsets and flowing gowns sweeping the ground.

The nineteenth century simplified dresses, shortened them and banned the corsets. Clothes got
lighter, shorter and simpler. The two world wars brought in trousers and blouses for women
giving them greater freedom of movement. Skirts became shorter, frills disappeared. Women
now went for short hair as it was convenient and easy to maintain.

In India, the western style clothing came in the 19th century. The wealthy Parsis were the first
to adopt it. It was also attractive to Dalits. The dress code in India was much under the
influence of strict codes of caste system. The Swadeshi movement and national feelings also
set the dress code of Indians.

Q.2. What were sumptuary laws? How did these laws affect society in France?
Ans. Sumptuary laws were those laws which imposed upon members of different layers of society
through specified details the codes of behaviour. These laws tried to control behaviour of those
considered social inferiors, preventing them from wearing certain clothes, consuming certain

19th century?

foods and beverages (usually alcohol) and hunting game in certain areas. In France, during the
medieval period the item of clothing a person could purchase per year was regulated not only
by income but also by social rank. The material to be purchased for clothing was also legally
prescribed. Only royalty could wear expensive materials like ermine, fur, silk, velvet and
brocade. Other classes were debarred from clothing themselves with materials that were
associated with the aristocracy.

Q.3. “Ideals of womanhood prevalent during the Victorian Age affected women’s dress.”
What were these ideals and how did these ideals affect the dresses of women during the
Victorian Age?
Ans. Women in Victorian England were groomed from childhood to be docile and dutiful,
submissive, and obedient. The ideal woman was one who could bear pain and suffering.
Women were seen as frivolous, delicate, passive and docile.

Norms of clothing reflected these ideals. From childhood, girls were tightly laced up and
dressed in stays. The effort was to restrict the growth of their bodies, contain them within small
moulds. When slightly older, girls had to wear tight fitting corsets. Tightly laced, small waisted

15


women were admired as attractive, elegant and graceful, clothing thus played a part in creating
the image of frail, submissive Victorian women.

Q.4. What was the Suffrage Movement? How did it bring about a reform in dress?
Ans. Women’s Suffrage Movement was a woman’s movement agitating for the right to vote in
political elections and democratic rights. As suffrage movement developed, people began
campaigning for dress reform. Women’s magazines described how light dress and corsets
caused deformities and illness among young girls. Such clothing restricted body growth and
hampered blood circulation. Muscles remained underdeveloped and the spines got bent.
Doctors reported that many women were regularly complaining of acute weakness, felt languid

and fainted regularly. By the end of the nineteenth century, change was clearly in the air – the
argument was simplify dress, shorten skirts, abandon corsets.

Q.5. Discuss how society and clothes are linked.
Ans. The history of clothing is linked to the larger history of society. Clothing is defined by


dominant cultural attitude and ideal of beauty. These notions change with time. Change in

clothing has come due to changes within technology and economy and pressures of changing times.

Changes in women’s clothing came as a result of the two world wars. Women stopped wearing
jewellery and luxurious clothes. Now women of all sections of society began to look similar.
Because of practical necessity clothes became shorter and without frills. Women began to be
employed in ammunition factories. This forced them to wear a uniform of blouse and trousers
with scarves. Thus, uniform of blouse and trousers was replaced by Khaki overalls and caps.
Sober colours were preferred as the war was on. Clothes became simpler and more practical.
Trousers became a common garment worn by women. Garments became austere and
professional. Games and sports became an important part of curriculum in girl’s schools.
Hence dresses were so designed that they did not hamper any movement. Another important
development was that women began to cut their hair as it was easy and convenient to maintain.

Thus we see how the pressures of society make way for changes in clothing, confirming the
fact that clothing is linked to society.

Q.6. With an example, discuss how clothing can convey different meanings in different
cultures and how these interpretations can lead to misunderstanding.
Ans. In different cultures, specific items of clothing often convey central meaning. This frequently

leads to misunderstandings and conflicts.
The case of the Turban and Hat is one. Turban and hat are two headgears that not only look
different. They also signify different things. The turban in India was not just for protection
from the heat but was also a sign of respectability and could not be removed at will. In the

western tradition, the hat had to be removed before social superiors as a sign of respect. This
cultural difference created misunderstanding. The British were often offended if Indians did
not take off their turban when they met colonial officials. Many Indians, on the other hand,
wore the turban to consciously assert their regional or national identity.

Q.7. How was the Swadeshi Movement linked to the politics of clothing? Explain.
OR
Establish the relationship between Khadi and National Movement. [2011 (T-2)]
Ans. The Swadeshi movement was centrally linked to the politics of clothing. In 1905, Lord
Curzon decided to partition Bengal to control the growing opposition to British rule. The

16


Swadeshi movement developed in reaction to this measure. People were urged to boycott the
British goods of all kinds and start their own industries for the manufacture of goods such
as match boxes and cigarettes. Mass protests followed with people viewing to cleanse
themselves of colonial rule.

The use of khadi was made a patriotic duty. Women were urged to throw away their silks and
glass bangles and wear simple shell bangles. Rough homespun was glorified in songs and
poems to popularise it.

Though many people rallied to the cause of nationalism at this time, it was almost impossible

to compete with cheap British goods that had flooded the market.
Despite its limitations, the experiment with Swadeshi gave Mahatma Gandhi important ideas
about using cloth as a symbolic weapon against British rule.


Q.8. How did Mahatma Gandhi's dream of clothing the nation in Khadi appeal only to some
sections of the Indian? (CBSE 2010)
OR
“Not everyone wore khadi.” Discuss with relevant examples from Mahatma Gandhi’s life.
Ans. Mahatma Gandhi’s dream was to clothe the whole nation in khadi. He felt khadi would be a
means of erasing differences between religions and classes; etc. But it wasn’t easy for others
in his footsteps. Just as the people could not take to the single peasant loin cloth
as Gandhiji had done. The people, in fact, did not want to do so.
Nationalists such as Motilal Nehru, a successful barrister from Allahabad, gave up his
expensive western style suits and adopted the Indian dhoti and kurta. But these were not made
of coarse cloth – khadi.


Those who had been deprived by caste norms for centuries were attracted to western dress
styles. Therefore unlike Mahatma Gandhi, other nationalists such as Baba Saheb Ambedkar
never gave up the western style suit. Many Dalits began in the early 1910s to wear three-piece
suits, shoes and socks on all public occasions, as a political statement of self-respect.


A woman wrote to Gandhiji, ‘‘I heard you speaking on the extreme necessity of wearing khadi,
but khadi is very costly and we are poor people.’’

to follow

Other women, like Sarojini Naidu and Kamla Nehru, wore coloured saris with designs, instead
of coarse, white homespun khadi.

Q.9. What were the reactions of the Indians of the 19th century to western style clothing?
How did the Indians react to western style of clothing during 19th century? [2011 (T-2)]
OR


Ans. There were three different kinds of reactions of Indians to western style clothing.


Western clothes were considered signs of modernity and progress. Many Indians
(especially men) began to be influenced by western clothes and incorporated some
elements of European style in their dresses. The Parsis were a perfect example. They wore
baggy trousers and the phenta (or hat) with long coats without collars. They also wore
boots and used a walking stick. The Dalit groups who were converts to Christianity also
found this new trend very attractive.

For some, adopting the western style clothes was a means of losing traditional cultural
identity.
17



Others found a solution. They combined the Indian dress with some elements of western style.

Some people, especially the bureaucrats, wore western clothes without giving up their
Indian clothes. They worn western clothes for work and Indian clothes at home.
Q.10. In India caste system played the role similar to Sumptuary Laws of Europe? Justify it.
OR
Explain with the help of an example, how certain changes in clothing styles that
threatened specified norms in India often created violent social reactions.

Ans. India has no formal sumptuary laws but it has a very strict social code of food and dress. It
is the caste system which defines what each caste should wear, eat, give, take, etc. These codes

are very rigid and are almost as forceful as laws. If there were any changes in these specified


codes then reactions were often violent and disturbing.
The case of the Shanar caste is an example. The Shanars are a community from Travancore.
They migrated to this area to work under the landlords who were the Nairs. The Shanars tapped
toddy. They belonged to a ‘subordinate caste’ and as per the traditions had to follow certain
specified norms. They were not allowed to wear slippers, use umbrellas and cover the upper
portion of their body with clothing.


When the Christian missionaries came, they converted the Shanars to Christians. Under their
influence the Shanar folk started covering the upper portion of their body. This angered the
Nairs who attacked them. The government of Travancore issued a proclamation which ordered
the Shanars not to cover the upper parts of their body. But this did not deter the Shanar women
who wore the blouse. These women were attacked and stripped of their upper clothes. The
Shanars were beaten and tortured. The government then issued a proclamation which laid down
that Shanar women could cover the upper part of their body “but not like the women of upper


Q.11. Why did a large number of people begin boycotting British or mill-made cloth and adopt
Ans. Even though khadi was coarser and more expensive many people began to boycott British cloth

and adopted khadi. This was a result of the policy of partition of Bengal by the British. In

1905, Lord Curzon decided that Bengal needs to be partitioned to curb the growing spirit of

caste.”

khadi?

nationalism and opposition to British rule. Bengal was so partitioned that it separated the
Hindus and Muslims and tried to destroy their unity. The Swadeshi Movement developed as
a reaction to this measure. People were persuaded to use goods manufactured in India and
boycott goods made in Britain. Many Indians started their own factories to manufacture things
such as matches, etc. People were forced to use khadi. Silks, glass bangles, etc., were thrown
away and simple coarse khadi sarees were worn. Wearing khadi became a partriotic duty.

Women substituted shell bangles for glass ones. Songs and poems were composed to
popularise Indian goods especially the coarse khadi.

Q.12. 'It looked good, but I felt ticklish wearing it....... brimming with enthusiasm, I showed it to my
mother. She gave me a stern look and said, "where are you going to gallivant in this?"
At night, I wore the blouse and showed it to my husband. He said it looked good.... (The next
morning) I came out wearing the blouse.... I didn't notice my mother coming. When I turned
round, she was behind me, fierce and furious... she said, "take it off.. You want to walk around
in shirts like Muslim women?"

Read the above passage and answer the following questions :

18


(a) Which item of clothing is being referred to?
(b) How did the lady feel wearing the item of clothing?
(c) What was the husband's attitude towards the clothing?
(d) Why was the mother against this item of clothing?
(CBSE 2010)
Ans.
(a) The item of clothing referred to here is a blouse gifted to C. Kesavan's mother-in-law by
her sister-in-law (Jeevita Samaram – an autobiography)

(b) The lady felt ticklish though she like it very much and was enthusiastic about wearing it.
(c) Her husband said "It looks good". He liked it too.
(d) The mother reacted violently to it and she ordered her daughter to take it off at once. She
accused her of walking around in "Shirts like Muslim women."
Q.13. 'Although perfectly straight and well made, I was encased in stiff stays, with a steel busk
in front, while above my frock bands drew my shoulder back until the shoulder blades met.
Then a steel rod, with.. semi-circle which went under my chin, was clasped to the steel
busk in my stays. In this constrained state, I and most of the younger girls had to prepare
Personal Recollections from Early Life to Old Age of Mary Somerville.

(a) Why were girls made to wear stiff stays?
(b) What was the impact of such clothing on girls' bodies? (CBSE 2010)
Ans.
(a) The Victorian women were forced to wear stiff stays. It was done to restrict their bodies,
contain them within small moulds.

(b) The tight dresses and corsets caused deformities and illness among young girls.
It restricted body growth and hampered blood circulation. Muscles remained underdeveloped
and spines got bent. Women, according to doctors, complained of acute
weakness, felt languid and fainted frequently.

Q.14. "From about 1294 to the time of the French Revolution in 1789, the people of France were
expected to strictly follow what were known as 'sumptuary laws'. The laws tried to control the
the lessons'.

behaviour of those considered social inferiors, preventing them from wearing certain
clothes..."

(a) Name any two materials that classes other than royalty were not permitted to wear.
(b) What changes in clothing are symbolic of the French Revolution?
(c) How was the idea of equality expressed through clothing after the Revolution?
(CBSE 2010)


Ans. (a) Expensive materials like ermine and fur (or silk, velvet or brocade) could be worn only
by royalty.

(b) The fashionable "knee breeches", worn by "Sans-Culottes" (members of the Jacobin
clubs) were loose and comfortable clothing, and had the colours of patriotic France –
blue-red and white. They became popular as symbols of patriotic citizens. The red cap
of liberty, long trousers, and the revolutionary cockade pinned to a hat were also
symbolic changes.
(c) The simplicity of clothing reflected the idea of equality.
19


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