Now, Kashmir’s Pheran Is In Controversy!

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SRINAGAR: All of a sudden, it is now the Pheran which has landed Kashmir in a controversy. The reason behind the crisis is an order by a zonal education officer who wants the teachers to avoid coming to his office wearing their pherans.

The reaction came from none other than the former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister and National conference Vice President Omar Abdullah. He urged school education department to withdraw its order asking officials to refrain from wearing the Pheran.

“I fail to understand why pherans should be banned!” Omer wrote on his twitter. “This is a regressive order that makes no sense at all. Pherans are a very practical way of keeping warm during the cold winter aside from being part of our identity. This order should be withdrawn.”

Omar added further: “My father & I have worn pherans to official functions many times over the years & will continue to do so, silly government orders notwithstanding.”

Omar was reacting to the order issued on last week by the Zonal Education Officer, Langate banning the wearing of Pheran for every official visiting the office.

“All the officials visiting this office are advised to visit with proper dress code during any official visit. It is recommended that no official will visit this office wearing ‘Feran’, traditional trousers and sleeper/Plastic shoes (sic),” the order reads.

Reports said the orders on similar lines are being issued at the behest of verbal orders from the Chief Education Officers in the Valley. Incidentally, Engineer Rashid, who representing Langate twice in the state assembly, is rarely seen without a Pheran, sometimes even in the assembly.

Pherans has been part of Kashmir dress for centuries. Even though it has been termed to be an “enforced” dress on Kashmir, it still continues to be an inalienable part of Kashmir dress. Over the years, the Pheran has changed its character as the designers crafted fascinating designs. There are Pheerans which are exclusively for office use only and these are completely different from the Pherans that people use at home.

The order has come under attack from commoners as well. “Those Kashmiris who do not wear Pheran or who feel it below dignity to wear Pheran are not Kashmiris actually,” Mohamad Afaaq Sayeed wrote on his Facebook. “Such people are confused about their identity.”

Journalist Khursheed Wani wrote on his Facebook wall: “In February 2014, Army invited media persons to a press conference of the then XV Corps Commander Lt Gen Gurmit Singh with an advisory that no journalist would arrive wearing a pheran due to “security reasons”. This infuriated the press corps and a campaign began against the diktat forcing the army to withdraw it. Omar Abdullah, then in the hot seat, also tweeted against the army like he did today against the Langate officer. To show their resentment, many journalists attended the press conference wearing colourful pherans. Gen Singh was too apologetic on the gaffe. He began the presser with a shower of encomiums on Kashmir’s traditional dresses, especially the Pheran. To stress on his fondness, he said that an editor had gifted him a pheran a few days ago after he praised his beautifully stitched tweed cloak during a meeting. “I returned the pheran with a thank you because I may not have been able to wear it,” Gen Gurmit said to pacify the journalists.”

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