Muzaffarnagar. After issuing a ban on women wearing jeans, a UP Khap Panchayat has refused to pass a similar ban on men wearing women’s clothing. “There is just no reason for this ban,” said a Panchayat leader, “not that it would be unjustified and unconstitutional, but it doesn’t matter because nothing like this goes on here anyway, that would just be weird.”
But Faking News decided to investigate the matter and find out the ground reality. Our team went to a suburb in Uttar Pradesh.
“This is a sarong! It’s fashionable! They all wear them in Bali,” shouted Om Yadav, who seemed a little surprised to see us on his doorstep, “David Beckham wore one so it’s fine. You wouldn’t accuse him of wearing women’s clothes, now would you?” Our correspondents quickly asked for directions to our first interview and left Yadav to his embroidery.
The town, which our lawyer advises us not to name, does not have any men’s clothes shops at all. Inside “Kumar’s of Muzaffarnagar”, the proprietor showed us a gold sparkly salwar kameez. “Is she a… um… larger lady, your wife, sir?” asked Mr Kumar, “very broad around the shoulders? Unusually tall? Or is it for your sister? Same eyes as yours? We have plenty to suit that particular skin tone.”
After saying that we didn’t want to buy anything, we were offered fifteen minutes in the “private fitting room”. Obviously being from out of town, we were escorted off the premises. Finally we met Shalini, who was a little more forthcoming on the issue.
Shalini met Faking News in a dark alleyway. She billowed along, her XL clothes blowing in the wind. “They banned jeans because they’re unisex”, she whispered, holding up her loose 91cm waist trousers with one hand, “now us women have to buy more women’s clothes, or rather, our husbands will buy them for us, they’ll choose the color, style and size too… Do you understand me?”
Shalini explained that since women are also banned from coming out of their homes, men are forced to buy women’s clothing, which has caused many of them to show “unusual” and “deeper” interest in women’s wear.
“I can understand the appeal,” said Pratap from the dhabha, an expert on the subject after he put on a dress to win a Rs.100 bet in 2005, “it’s very comfortable, lots of room of the air to circulate, no need to scratch anything.”
The investigation was abandoned the following morning as Faking News found a burnt bra outside our hotel room door.