Fashion in Life


Dr. Ravi P. Bhatia – TRANSCEND Media Service

19 Oct 2021 – Fashion can mean different things— it can refer to a particular social or political ideology that is currently in vogue or in fashion. It can refer to the type of education imparted to children. Whereas rich children get education in sciences, languages or mathematics, poor children who do not have access to technological tools or internet, their education needs to promote other aspects.

Skills are important in this respect, as was highlighted by Mahatma Gandhi in his small important book Hind Swaraj — India Home Rule.

Poor children generally may not complete their secondary schooling, but they need to acquire certain skills such as carpentry or electrical fittings in homes or offices. Or skills about operating simple computer gadgets. This is important for getting some job or work that will provide sustenance in life. Girls also need skills but they could be different — cooking, keeping homes clean, etc. They also work in offices, workstations or banks calling up customers about facilities they provide.

We are also familiar with fashion that is commonly understood — fashion in clothes, footwear or even eye-wear — goggles, spectacles, etc. There are fashion shows in different parts of the world — France, Germany, USA and now even in India. Generally women display the latest designs or combinations of colours in the clothes they wear. Sometimes they put on dresses or hair styles that look outlandish to say the least. Without appreciating their nuances, it appears that these women try to appear distinct from one another and in the process, appear weird, funny and sometimes foolish. Having small patches on the jeans they wear is now old hat; they try to devise other means with one leg of jeans of one colour and the other of different colour and length.

Behind this parade of high and outlandish fashion, is the possibility of becoming film or video stars and making millions of dollars and pounds. High fashion is the chance and possibility of making millions — not only for appearance sake.

Most newspapers today devote one or two pages of high fashion celebrities — their photos are taken at airports, outside high end restaurants, etc. What is the urge to display themselves in high-end heels and silly clothes is something I cannot understand.

In fact, it is tragic to see their photos of fashiondas on one page of the newspaper and the next pages devoted to tragic occurrences in lives of ordinary people. Photos and accounts of flooding in homes, road accidents, mowing down cyclists, and other horrible catastrophic events in the lives of poor people, promises made by political parties to alleviate their horrible  conditions, fill the other pages of newspapers and TV screens.

What can be done to reduce such divergences, is difficult for me to say. But sometimes I feel it is better to be ignorant than not being able to do anything. Can ignorance be bliss? How strange to even whisper about ignorance here.

If a person or institution can remove these social economic anomalies, it is good to have their knowledge. Otherwise, be content in what you are and try to lead sober spiritual contended lives.

Let me put it this way — be fashionable and happy about your simple meaningful lives. Wear ordinary comfortable clothes. This can also become trendy in times to come.


Dr Ravi P Bhatia is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment, an educationist, Gandhian scholar and peace researcher. Retired professor, Delhi University. His new book, A Garland of Ideas—Gandhian, Religious, Educational, Environmental was published recently in Delhi.



This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 8 Nov 2021.

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