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15 April 2024

World Dhoti Day to be celebrated today in UAE

By VM Sathish

Dhoti, a long piece of unstitched cloth worn over the lower-half of the body in Southeast Asia, is back in the limelight here as a group of dhoti admirers in the UAE and Gulf countries are organising the World Dhoti Day today (January 1, 2012) as part of a campaign to restore the lost glory of the traditional dress, used by millions across Asia and Africa.

A group of Non-Resident Indians in the UAE, Union of Traditions, said they celebrate New Year as the World Dhoti Day, to increase awareness about the commonly-worn dress.

The group urged senior executives and officials from India and other Southeast Asian countries to wear dhoti at least once a month and particularly on January 1, 2012 when hundreds of Indians here will be wearing the traditional dress.

The group is also in touch with organisations and expatriates from other dhoti wearing nations like Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Kenya, Nepal and other countries to participate in the World Dhoti Day. The event will be organised strictly following the UAE rules and regulations and the Asian families are urged to teach their children how to wear a dhoti.

Dhothi, Veshti or Pancha are traditionally considered formal dress in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. The 4.5 meters long unstitched white cloth is worn around the waist and legs and knotted at the waist. In South India, it is worn on all special occasions, festivals and celebrations.

The proponents of this traditional dress said that media has created a wrong notion that dhoti or lungi is banned in Sharjah.

“There is no such official ban on dhotis. The ban is only for people who use lungis while visiting government offices. Otherwise there is no ban on wearing lungi in Sharjah,” said Advocate Aji Kuriakose.

A cinema house in Al Qouz recently issued a warning that visitors coming in lungi will not be allowed in the theatres. Chandran Ayancherry, CEO of a company in Dubai, said he, his family members and friends would participate in the campaign. “It is not possible to wear dhoti every day due to the dress code in offices here. However, on the New Year day, we will abandon trousers, suits and ties for the sake of traditional dhoti. Many such cultural signs are disappearing.”