Cross Cultures Of India And The UK Cultural Studies Essay

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According to Raymond Williams Culture is ordinary and it's a given fact. All human society has its own meaning, its own shape and its own purposes. And it is expressed in institutions, and in arts as well as in learning. Society is made with the findings of common directions and meanings, and the growth of it is under an active debate and amendment arriving from the pressures of experience, discovery, and contact, writing itself into the land. The ever growing society is always there, but it is also being made and remade in every individual's mind. The mind is made firstly through the slow learning of shapes, meanings and purposes, so that observation, work and communication are possible. Then, second but equally important, is testing of these in experience, the forming of new observations, meanings and comparisons. There are two main aspects of culture: directions and the known meanings, for which its members are trained to, the new meanings and new observation's are offered and tested. These are nothing but the ordinary processes of human minds and human societies, and what we see through them is the nature of a culture: which is always both creative and traditional; and has both the most ordinary common meanings and the finest of individual meanings. The word culture is used by us in these two senses: to mean a whole journey of life-the common meanings; to mean the learning and the arts, the special processes of findings and the creative effort. Most of the writers reserve the word for one or the other of these senses; but I insist on both, and so is the significance of their conjunction. Culture is ordinary, in every mind and in every society (Mckenzie, 1958).

Indian Culture:

Very few countries in the world have such a diverse and ancient culture as India's. Going back over nearly 5000 years, it has been deeply enriched by successive waves of moving of people from one country and locality into the Indian way of life. It is this special variety which is one of a special hallmark of India. India's linguistic diversity is as immense as its physical, religious and racial variety. Since the very earliest times until the present day underneath this diversity lies the continuity of the Indian civilization and its social structure. Modern India presents a picture of its unity in diversity which provides no parallel in the history (Thinkquest, 2010).

United kingdom's Culture:

The United Kingdom consists of four countries: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. It is important to be aware of the geographical distinction has they have a strong sense of identity and nationalism among the people of these four nations. The term 'English' and 'British' do not mean the same thing. 'English' refers to people who are from England and 'British' denotes people who are from England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

Formerly it was very homogenous society, after the World War 2 it has become very diverse society which consist a large number of immigrants population. The United Kingdom does not have a officially defined constitutional language. English is the most spoken language by nearly 70% of the UK population and therefore is the de facto official language (Kwintessential, 2010).

Different types of dressing culture in India:

India is a nation that is vast and has many ancient traditions. It blossoms with various colourful traditional dresses that various communities and tribes of various states wear. Each region and each state has its own cultural history that is reflected in its dresses.

For its various festive and its grace Indian clothing is very popular. Therefore, naturally each part of the country has its unique dress for both men and women. Although most of the Indians in urban areas prefer wearing the more conventional western dress, due to its ancient past and diverse tradition the exclusivity of the Indian dresses can nevertheless be seen.

From Gujarat in the west to Assam in the east, and from Kashmir in the north to Kanyakumari in the south, every different region of the country has its own exclusive and vibrant range of dresses that can be identified to be regions very own. Dresses of both men and women are so distinct and well-defined which are made to go with the ambience and climate of the area they belong to. Culture and occupation of the people can also be reflected through the dress the wear. Below are some of the attires that people of popular states of India wear (Infibeam, 2010).

The saree is the national dress of India. It is a six yards of unstitched cloth which is skilfully draped to impart elegance and grace. Salwar Kameez and lehenga Choli are other traditional dresses that are worn around the country. Modern Indian women leaving in the metros wear western dresses just like their male counterparts. Amoung the college going students universal t-shirt n jeans are very popular (Globalgateway, 2009).

Ethnic Dresses in Northern India

In the northern part of the country in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, the weather is cold for the most part of the year. People over there therefore wear Phiran which is a thick long dress and is a Kashmiri gown. It is common to both the men as well as the women. People of Laddhak wear different dresses. Goucha is worn by men whereas women wear kuntop and the bok.

Salwar kameez which is quiet popular dress is worn by Punjabi women along with bright coloured dupattas, whereas men usually wear kurta along with pyjama or with a lunghi. Bhangra dress of Punjab is also famous.

Haryana also has a very colourful and vibrant dress culture. They have simple yet vivacious lifestyle and that is reflected on their dressing. Damaan, Kurti and Chunder is worn by women whereas the men generally wears a dhoti along with a white coloured Kurta. Paghri is their traditional head gear. The colour which is generally worn by male is white, which is considered to be a status symbol in the society (Infibeam, 2010).

Ethnic Dresses in Western India

Women in Rajasthan wear ghaghra which is a long skirt that reaches up to the ankle. At the point of waist it is narrower and its width increases at the base. Ghaghra has number of pleats and it is said that the wearer's wealth is signified through the pleats. Ghaghras comes in various styles. Whereas men wear's a traditional dress which is worn above the waist known as Angarakha and a turban. There are two different types of Angarakhas, the waist-length one and the other the long one which reaches the knees. Along with angarakhas, to cover the lower part of their body they wear dhotis or pyjamas. Generally people wear white dhotis, but some also wear silk dhotis with zari borders.

Maharashtra also has a very popular traditional dress. Men wear shirt and a dhoti along with "pheta" which it is popularly known has which is a head dress. Dhoti are generally two and half feet long which may or may not have borders. The women wear sarees along with a short sleeved choli known as blouse. It is usually 9m long and are generally tucked between the legs.

Also famous for its ethnic wear is the western state of Gujarat. Chorno for the lower part of body is a common type of dress worn by men in the rural region. To cover upper part of body they wear 'kediyu' or angarakhu along with 'phento' or turban. Chanjyo is usually worn by women in villages which is a coloured petticoat, embroidered of round glass pieces. Whereas they wear a bodice called the choli for the upper part of the body. Along with this to cover the head they wear odhani (Infibeam, 2010).

Ethnic Dresses in Eastern and North Eastern India

The cultural tradition of West Bengal reflects in its costumes. Though Bengali saree is the traditional dress of women in West Bengal, salwar kameez which they have adopted from the traditional dress of Punjab is also worn by a lot of women. It is also very well known for its cotton sarees and silk sarees. Whereas dhoti along with Punjabi is worn by men, it is either made of silk or cotton.

The state of Orissa, which is a tribal dominated state, is well known for its sarees with ikat patterns. Various sarees of Orissa made from various fabrics are very famous across the country.

While in the state of Assam the typical costume of many women is mekhla chadar. It resembles a saree, but it's not a saree. To complete the dress a blouse is worn below the chadar. The men in Assam generally wear silk dhotis. They also wear scarf, known as chalang. Sula is another traditional shirt worn by Assamese men.

The North Eastern states comprising of Nagaland, Mizoram, Manipur, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Tripura have a lot of similarity between their dressing culture. Their dresses are striking and eye capturing. This is significant has there are many ethnic tribes and cultures that intermingle there (Infibeam, 2010).

Ethnic Dress in Southern India

Mundu and Neriyathu for both the men and women are the traditional dress of Kerala. Also popular alternate as a traditional dress for women is saree and blouse. While Neriyathu is the upper garment, the mundu is the lower garment. kasayu mundu is the traditional dress for men. It has a silk border and is near three to four meters in length and is more popular in the rural region. Lungi is also popular attire for men. These are considered informal attire for men. When going outdoors, they generally wear mundu along with a shirt and draping a small neriyathu on the shoulders.

In the state of Andhra Pradesh the traditional attire is dhoti and kurta for men and saree and blouse for women. Some tribals such as lambadies have their own attire which are famous for their colourful and attractive garments.

In the state of Tamil Nadu women wear a saree which has a special place in the costumes of the state. It has an important part of the state's heritage. It is worn on numerous occasions and is extremely popular. The famous kanchipuram sarees is very famous throughout the world. Men prefer wearing dhoti or lungi along with angavasthram. But now many younger people prefer wearing shirts and trousers over angavasthram and lungi.

In the state of Karnataka women wear salvar suits and sarees, whereas men wear shirt and lungi along with an angavasthram.

It can be easily seen that the costumes of south India have a very similar way of dressing creating a harmonious blend of tradition and culture (Infibeam, 2010).

Different types of Dressing Culture in United Kingdom:

Scottish National Dress

The Kilt worn in Scotland is one of the most famous national costumes in the world. However critics say that the kilt is not as traditional as compared to others. But whatever may be it is still what many people associate it with Scotland, along with their haggis and the whisky.

Wearing a tartan along with a kilt is considered inauspicious by some people if it does not belong to your family.

In Scotland men wear kilts and not skirts.


Today kilt with shirt, waistcoat and tweed jackets, brogue shoes and a sporran, stockings with garter flashes are the traditional dress worn by men in Scotland. Displaying the clan crest a bonnet is often worn by people in Scotland.


Ladies in Scotland generally don't wear kilts, but they do wear pleated skirts or dresses in tartan material. Mostly they prefer wearing light plaid or shawl made of tartan material (Globalgateway, 2009).

Scotland people's dressing generally features the tartan which is the traditional dress of Scotland. One of the traditional Scotland dress was the kilt. In the recent years the dressing of Scotland has changed to a great extend (Maps of World, 2009).

Welsh National Dress

The National dress of Welsh is relatively young and not as famous as that of Scotland. Welsh still does not have a national costume, but most well known is the way how the ladies dress. There isn't yet a National costume for men but recently because of the rise of nationalism in Wales they have created a tartan and kilts or tartan trousers are often worn.

In Welsh a typical ladies costume consists of a hat, which is made up of black felt, with high brim and a high crown, which is worn over a lace cap. Over a crisp white blouse a red flannel shawl is worn, and with a black and white check pattern and a starched, white apron a full skirt made of wool is worn. Black woollen stockings and black shoes carrying a basket made from willow withies are worn by proper Welsh ladies (Globalgateway, 2009).

Irish National Dress

The traditional Irish costume has been closely associated with the flamboyant bright costumes worn by the traditional Irish dancers with the revival of the Irish dancing. But in ancient Ireland you would see people wearing trews(Irish for trousers) and Leine(Irish for shirts) and long cloaks fastened with a brooch (Globalgateway, 2009).

English National Dress

The English National Dress of Male alludes to the colours of that of St George. And the light blue of St Edmund the old English King is seen in the design of the English National dress of Female. It can be seen in both orders of dresses that they are stylist, practical, yet modest and easy to make. It uses wool, leather, steel, linen and simple dyes. And for those who want man-made material can be made. Seax which is a custom made leather sheath for hanging knife in the front is also a part of their dress. It was worn by the old English people as a sign of free born English (England and English History, 2007).

Differences in the Dressing Culture of India and United Kingdom:

Countries have altogether different dress culture for different purposes. Like in a country during certain occasion people wear certain clothes and in the same occasion people in another country will altogether wear different clothes.


India- The richness and diversity of the Indian tradition and culture can be seen in the Indian wedding dresses. Every region has its distinctive colour significance and its unique dress code. The style throughout the country is same since centuries whatever the region of the country. Saree, salwar kameez and lehanga are the popular bride's wear in India. The Indian wedding dresses for bride have and always will revolve around Salwar kameez, Saree and Lehanga however modernized India become (Gandhi, 2010) .Whereas the groom has to choose from various options, traditional dresses such as kurta dhoti, sherwani, achkan, kurta pajama or the western suits (Articlebase, 2009).

United Kingdom- The bride in the United Kingdom wears a long white dress whereas the groom wears a morning suit (Deborah, 2008).


Though funeral dress code is according to the religion people follow. Different religions have different dress code for the funeral.

India- In India Hindu religion is the main religion followed by most of its population. During funerals the dress code is White and mourners generally wear traditional Indian garments. If we are to attend Hindu friend's funeral, it would be advisable to ask what is appropriate to wear. (If I should die, 2010)

United Kingdom- In United Kingdom Christian is the main religion followed by most of its population. For funerals the tradition is to wear dark coloured clothes and black ties with suits, but sometimes for the celebration of life and resurrection people prefer wearing bright coloured clothes (If I should die, 2010).


It can be seen that the dressing culture of one country is different than the dressing culture of another country. Even throughout the country the Dressing culture is not the same, each and every region has its own ethnic dressing culture. The way people dress represents their social status. Dressing culture of a country to a large extend depends on the tradition of that country and that is showed through what they wear. Even within a country they have different dress culture depending on their religion, beliefs, from which region of the country they are etc.

India's dresses in many ways interweave its tradition. However, with the increasing influence of the western culture, many people have started wearing a western styled dressing. Most of the modern people and youngster's in India wear the western style of dressing which to a great extend diluted the Indian culture. Nonetheless, Indian culture has still managed to be very much alive and growing, so it's the need of the hour to protect and preserve the country's many cultural and dressing traditions from going down into oblivion.

United Kingdom- Within United Kingdom different countries have their different national costumes, but there is no national costume of United Kingdom as such. But United Kingdom played a key role in the world clothing since the eighteenth century. During the Victorian era acceptable dress for men of business was defined by British fashions. The modern suit was also created by British which cemented its dominance. Brummell is acknowledged for introducing the modern man's suit, which is worn with a tie. United Kingdom has a rich and diversified dress culture and has played a pivotal role in today's dress culture of the world.