Chatta and Mundu

From being from the west, I was curious what type of clothes they would being wearing in the book. I also wanted some sort of visual of what it would look like. The author mentioned in Chapter 8 that Kochu Maria still wears her “spotless half-sleeved white chatta with v-neck and her white mundu.”(161) She explains that this is the traditional dress for the Syrian Christians women. However, she further explains that some have decided to start wearing saris.

Kochu Maria says she will not stop wearing this type of dress because she does not want people not see her as a Syrian christian despite her low paying job. She wants to be seen as a “touchable, upper-class Christian”(162) She is using her appearance to further her position in a very tight caste system in the novel.

I researched this type of dress, chatta and mundu, and found it was very common in the late 19th century to early 20th century and originated in southern India. It was influenced by European colonialism. This style of dress went out of style sometime in the 1950s which furthers Kochu Maria’s traditional mindset.

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