Indian Navy Officers can now wear Kurta-Pyjama in messes

As per the government directives, the attire, consisting of a kurta paired with narrow pyjamas and optional sleeveless jackets, can be complemented with closed formal shoes or sandals.

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Courtesy: ANI

In a significant departure from colonial-era norms, the Indian Navy has embraced indigenous traditions by allowing its officers to wear kurta-pyjama attire in its messes and institutes. This move, aimed at shedding vestiges of the past and promoting Indian customs, reflects a broader effort by the government to "Indianize" military practices.

As per directives issued by the government, naval officers and sailors are now permitted to don the traditional kurta-pyjama ensemble within mess premises. The attire, consisting of a kurta paired with narrow pyjamas and optional sleeveless jackets, can be complemented with closed formal shoes or sandals.

The guidelines specify that the kurta should be of a solid tone, with cuffs at the sleeves and reaching just up to the knee. The accompanying narrow pyjamas, featuring an elastic waistband and side pockets, should either match or contrast with the trousers. Female officers have the option of wearing kurta-churidar or kurta-palazzo combinations, adhering to similar instructions.

However, it's important to note that these regulations apply only to informal or casual occasions within messes and institutes, and do not extend to warships or submarines.

Previously, the use of kurta-pyjamas for male personnel and guests was strictly prohibited in Navy messes, as well as in Army and Indian Air Force establishments. The decision to adopt kurta-pyjamas follows discussions during the naval commanders’ conference, emphasizing the attire's recognition as a "national civil dress."

While the move is aligned with Prime Minister Modi’s directive for "freedom from slavery mentality," some veterans have voiced reservations. Former Chief Admiral Arun Prakash expressed concerns, stating that emphasizing the notion of "ghulami ki virasat" (legacy of slavery) could undermine the contributions of patriotic Indian Navy personnel post-Independence.

In addition to attire changes, the Navy is also undergoing a process of "Indianizing" rank names for sailors, and senior officers now wear epaulettes highlighting the heritage and legacy of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.

Overall, the decision to allow kurta-pyjamas in Navy messes signifies a step towards embracing India's rich cultural heritage and fostering a sense of pride and identity among its personnel.