Sunday, August 30, 2009

Farshi Pajama

Farshi Pajama is a dress that was worn in Muslim courts of Oudh between late 17th and early 20th century as well as by Muslim ladies from privileged classes of Uttar Pradesh (formerly United Provinces of Agra and Oudh in North India.) Modeled after the flowing ball gowns worn by British noblewomen*, the complete outfit consists of three basic parts - The Kurta or a long shirt, the dupatta or the long stole which is an essential piece of cloth in traditional Indian wear covering the head and bossom, and the third and most important, the farshi pajama, which is a flowing two legged skirt held by drawstrings. It falls straight to the ankles from where it starts flaring flowing copiously onto the floor. The farshi pajama, in this era is often called farshi gharara, a term not used before mid 20th century and is considered an incorrect twist. The confusion is said to be because of the Farshi Pajama's similarity with the Gharara.



A rough illustration of a farshi pajama. A woman wearing a farshi pajama while it is spread out, a woman wearing a farshi pajama holding it up while walking.(Img by me)Farshi means anything that is associated with the 'farsh' or floor (for example farshi baithak which is associated with sitting on the floor). When combined with the word Pajama, the term evolves to mean a bottom-wear garment that falls generously on the floor, and trails as one walks, however in reality, during walking, the dress is correctly held in such a way, that the wearer carefully folds the flaring trail and holds in in her left hand keeping the right one free, it hardly trails. The large quantity (historically, 9-15 yards) of expensive cloth, embroidered using the art of goldwork (embroidery) and sterling silver wire threads (Karchob/Zari/Zardozi etc), used to make a farshi pajama mainly reflects the grandeur and extravagance of the nobles and rulers of that era

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