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.

Image result for HOW TO WEAR KACHAMURI

2 thoughts on “Chatta and Mundu

  1. Josephine D

    This is so interesting! Thanks for sharing. I did look up what some of the clothes looked like myself because I was curious, but I didn’t think of going so far as research the history of them, which it turns out is pretty important! Your post has made me realize that knowing the historical context of things in a novel, especially one like The God of Small Things that is set in a place so many Americans are unfamiliar with, can really add a lot to the understanding of the book. You’ve definitely inspired me to pay more attention to looking up things I don’t know about and reading the posted resources on Google Classroom. On a different note, I do wonder if we are going to learn more about Kochu Maria’s story? I think it is interesting that she is of a relatively high social class but is still stuck working as a maid for a family of the same social class as her. I wonder how that came about and how she feels about it.


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