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Clothing Women in Colonial North India

'Fashioning' Swadeshi

This article explores the gendered implications of the swadeshi rhetoric by focusing on how its language was creatively appropriated by the Hindu publicists of colonial United Provinces to dress up Hindu middle-class, upper-caste women in particular ways. This had implications for a new vocabulary of sartorial morality, for modern bourgeois values of thrift and for Hindu revivalism. However, swadeshi dress campaigns were also embedded in social, caste and religious hierarchies, sexual divisions and moral boundaries, exposing various tensions at the heart of the project.

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