Ilford temple leader slams ban on Western clothing at Hindu shrines

PUBLISHED: 14:17 22 January 2016 | UPDATED: 14:24 22 January 2016

Deities at VHP Ilford Hindu Centre in Cleveland Road, Ilford

Deities at VHP Ilford Hindu Centre in Cleveland Road, Ilford


A temple organiser has condemned a ban on wearing Western clothing at Hindu shrines in India.

Vinaya SharmaVinaya Sharma

Vinaya Sharma, a committee member at VHP Ilford Hindu Centre, Cleveland Road, Ilford, said the Madras High Court ruling banning jeans, shorts and skirts at temples in the state of Tamil Nadu was “ridiculous”.

Ms Sharma, who says it would not be appropriate for temples here to adopt such “enforcement”, said she was refused entry to a Tamil Nadu temple while wearing a salwar kameez – a long top and trousers.

Guidelines include wearing saris or half saris with a blouse for women and traditional dhotis – long cloths wrapped around the waist – or formal shirts and trousers for men.

Ms Sharma said dress codes should be about decency and said the ban was about culture and not Hinduism.

“All we say is, if you’re coming to the temple think about what your relationship with God is and dress respectfully. You wouldn’t walk in wearing a bikini, for example.”

She said wearing a T-shirt and jeans was just fine in Ilford.

“There’s nothing prescribed in any book as to what to wear,” she added. “We have absolutely no problem here. People come in the clothes they feel comfortable wearing, we have never had any issue.”

Ms Sharma said the ruling was unacceptable in secular India and did not reflect its central government.

“It’s ridiculous,” she said. “I think when you go into a temple you have a reason in doing so – you want to go to connect with God, the deity that you’re close to.

“What’s on your mind is the most important thing, what you wear and don’t wear has nothing to do with it. It’s how clean your heart is and what your intentions are which is important.”

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