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Tourists are flocking back to Kashmir. However, the revealing dress of some foreigners has upset hardliner Muslim organization Jamaat-e-Islami, prompting it to issue a dress code for visitors that "honors" local sensitivities.
According to this news report, the organization released the following statement last week, "Some tourists, mostly foreigners, are seen wandering in short mini-skirts and other objectionable dresses here openly, which is quite against the local ethos and culture and not acceptable to the civil society at all."
Apparently, although houseboat owners and hotel managers consider the new dress code to be draconian, they've been forced to implement it. They've put up prominent notices on their premises asking tourists to dress "appropriately" while in Kashmir.
What does "appropriately" mean? As a general rule, keeping shoulders and legs covered, and not wearing tight clothing is appropriate dress -- not only in Kashmir, but most places in India.
This news report indicates that tourists haven't been paying attention to the new dress code in Kashmir though. Should they?
The reality is that while standards of dress have become more liberal in large cosmopolitan cities such as Mumbai and Delhi, and of course Goa, dressing in revealing clothing elsewhere is still not a good idea in India. Unfortunately, there is widespread perception in India that foreign women are promiscuous. Dressing in a revealing manner only perpetuates that thought and encourages negative attention.
Hence, I find that it's usually best to be on the conservative side and cover up. For me, it's more a matter of feeling comfortable, particularly in regards to staring and ogling by men in the street. Yet, not only that, I have been on occasion complimented for dressing decently -- so people do make note of what you are wearing in India, even if they don't always verbalize it!
If it is hot and you do want to wear a sleeveless top, such as a tank top or a spaghetti strap top, a scarf can be invaluable to throw over your shoulders and chest when needs be.
What are your thoughts on dress?
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