Achkan, Shervani and Choga: In our last blog, we spoke of the history of the Angrakha and the Jama. Today, we will continue with three other classic silhouettes worn by men in India, two of which are still worn on formal occasions. The Achkan is so popular that an Indian wedding is unthinkable without the groom and several guests wearing it. I remember when my sister was married, I cut up one of my Benares brocade sarees to make a miniature version of Achkan for my then seven-year-old son, something I now regret considering he wore it just once.
The Achkan :Achkan, Shervani and Choga- The Indian Silhouettes
Portrait of Pratap Singh Maharaja Nabha, by Alfred Thomson
Statue of Saraswati at the National Museum Delhi. Note her apparel.
Silhouettes of Indian Apparel : India is perhaps unique in its history of wearing unstitched clothing from pre-Vedic times, draped on the body in stylized ways. Interestingly, in Vedic India, the body was considered an integral part of a human personality. Therefore there was no stigma attached to body parts being on display. As a culture, too, India has traditionally believed in the fluidity of form, matching well with draped garments.