A hundred years ago August 16, 1921 Archives

From the Archives (August 16, 1921): Of Tamil Women

Mr. Gandhi writes in “Young India”: A friend writes from Tirupati: - The greatest obstacle in the way of success of our movement in Madras are our women. Some of them are very reactionary and a very large number of the high-class Brahmin ladies have become addicted to many of the western vices. They drink coffee not less than three times a day and consider it very fashionable to drink more. In dress they are no better: They have given up the homely cheap cloth and are running after costly foreign cloth. In the matter of jewels, Brahmin ladies excel all others. Among Brahmins, Shri Vaishnava ladies are the worst sinners. When men are trying to return to a purer life, our ladies are becoming extravagant. While going to temples to worship God, they cannot think of a plain, simple dress. They should wear the costliest jewels available and still more costly laces. I know of many honest women who refuse to go to temples because they have not got rich clothes and costly jewels.

I am loth to think that what the friend who is himself a non-cooperating Vaishnava pleader, says is all true. And I am inclined to disbelieve the statement that the Tamil sisters are worse than the rest in the matter of love of gaudiness. All the same, his letter ought to serve as a warning to the Tamil sisters. They must revert to the original simplicity and certainly God will be better pleased with those who wear the spotless Khadisadi as a symbol of the inner purity than with those who are gaudily dressed. Our temples are not meant for show but for expression of humility and simplicity which are typical of a devotional mood.

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