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Bangladesh is a strange country indeed when it comes to respecting their traditions and values. We, the Bangladeshi, have misconceptions that our culture is inferior to western cultures. This is due to hegemony stemming from post-colonial and neo-imperial impacts.

As we know, the subcontinent, including Bangladesh, has been under British rule for approximately 200 years. Thus, English is a status symbol in this country. In fact, America has the supreme power in the world today, owing to developments in technology -especially media. Thus, there exists neo-imperialism, which means that other countries (mainly America) are still controlling us indirectly, unlike military suppression (by the British) like in the past.

People claim all clothes are equal (they say “All clothes have the same rights”) but at the same time, some clothes are “more equal” (they believe that ‘obviously’, “some clothes are more equal than others”). Here, more equal means more appropriate. There is now a mix between our Bengali culture and western culture. The colonial impacts have infused in our mind that anything of our country origin –like the lungi - is a dress code of marginalized people, something so cheap that only the poor use. We feel ashamed to go here and there in a lungi. We think suits, jackets, pants are formal dresses in order to go to formal areas. However, it is very sad that we, the Bangladeshi, make these rules by mixing up our culture with the west. We never use lungi as party wear. But, our neighboring country uses this lungi as party wear or formal wear. For instance, “Srilanka, where designer lungis are party wear or Myanmar where political honchos queue up in lungis to receive visiting dignitaries.

 

We first need to have a clear idea about hegemony. In Cambridge Advance Learner’s Dictionary and Thesaurus, hegemony is defined as, “(especially of countries) the position of being the strongest and most powerful and therefore able to control others.” On the other hand, sartorial means something related to clothes or garments. The dominating society promotes their culture in a superior way and makes them a role model for other less developed nations to follow. Therefore, the people of the world follow them in the name of globalization. We, the people of the east, follow the sartorial fashion, way of living, culture, tradition, traits of the west – all of which lead to our identity crisis. We always remain in confusion whether to practice our own cultural values. We see the comfort in wearing jeans, t-shirts, top, skirts but how can we forget that we have the most comfortable traditional wear lungi, saree?

 

The practice of Neo-imperialism is very evident in a developing country like ours. The so-called globalization makes our area borderless, but to update ourselves we are promoting the western culture instead of ours. We become a blogger of food, makeup, fashion and lifestyle, and in most of the cases we follow the west. People are very enthusiastic to get western ideas to update their lifestyle. Actually, by doing this we are branding the west culture. In our educational institutions, English language is mandatory. Like a third world country like ours, English is necessary for globalization but we forget our own language and literature. Many Bengalis cannot speak in Bangla and they are not even ashamed of it. Others also get motivated by them in order to be ‘modern’. There are people of our own country who try to follow the trend and try to look the part of being ‘modern’, imitating the west.

The fact that people would say in public that they believe in sartorial equality, but really believe otherwise, is the hypocritical mindset brought about by a hegemony of clothes due to post colonialism and neo-imperialism. In fact, there is nothing that is ‘more equal’ to another thing. The word ‘equal’ is a non-gradable attribute. No clothes can be ‘more equal’ than others. Similarly, nobody should think that some clothes are more appropriate.