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Recently Pakistani Cricket Captain Sarfaraz Ahmed wore traditional Shalwar Kameez to meet the Queen and Twitter went into uproar.
Because all the other Cricket Captains including Indian Cricket Captain Virat Kohli wore English suits while he chose to represent his country with traditional Pakistani attire.
Honestly, I can’t see the big deal.
Listening to the Asian Network programme, I was proud to hear the support from fellow British Asians of all backgrounds and faiths.
A valid point that was raised by the show’s host was, are we ashamed of our culture that we need to call out someone for wearing traditional clothes to meet a head of state?
Is it an inferiority complex that is so ingrained in our society, anyone other is seen is less than?
I don’t really follow cricket, but my husband does and when I saw the picture, I didn’t even glance at it for a second.
It was of a man in a clean Shalwar Kameez wearing a blazer over the top representing his country in traditional attire.
I’d like to remind people that Baroness Sayeeda Warsi wore Shalwar Kameez when appointed to her role in cabinet.
So why is it such a big deal?
To answer this question, I had to ask myself how I felt walking down the street in Shalwar Kameez in Leeds the last time I wore it out in public for a leaving dinner.
The stares and the feeling of self-consciousness never leaves me, but also the judgement I could see in the eyes of strangers that I was uneducated or not from around here really hurt.
Thankfully no one attacked me, that’s happened more when I’m in Jeans surprisingly!
But I can understand the shame people may feel for wearing traditional dress to work.
One young woman on the Asian Network programme stated that she works at a well-known company in London and chooses to wear Shalwar Kameez to work.
She’s gotten nothing but compliments from it.
That gave me such pride as the young woman was of Bangladeshi heritage and so eloquent Mashallah (Praise be to Allah).
So what can we do going forward?
Surprisingly, I’m in Shalwar Kameez every day because it’s what we wore at home growing up and even when I visit my in-laws I’m in the same traditional attire.
The reason I don’t wear it to work (although I could) is because good Shalwar Kameez is expensive to buy or even get stitched.
I can buy a nice shirt and trousers for less than the price it would cost me to buy and have a nice shalwar Kameez stitched.
If cost wasn’t an issue and my workplace was more casual or I worked in a creative field, I don’t think anyone would bat an eyelid as to what I was wearing as long as I got the job done!