A group of six guys have taken to lungis to make a statement against the discrimination shown towards the labour class.
It's not about eccentricity. Nor is it about any sacred custom. It's all about conveying a social message. In Chennai, where dhotis and lungis are frowned upon, a bunch of youngsters sport the colourful lungi in public places such as malls and coffee outlets.
It may look a bit odd when Joshua Isaac (25), engineering student, combines the pink-flower-patterned lungi with his urban attire — branded shirt, Puma footwear, Adidas bag and Fastrack watch. "Today, this attire has come to symbolise oppression," he says, clutching the sides of his lungi that falls full length till his feet. "And we want to change that," he adds in a determined tone.
Subscribing to the same sentiments are five others — Gaurav Kumar, an employee at an MNC, Anandavalavan, an engineering student, Karthik Melancholy, creative director in an ad company and Makizhnan, employee at a media firm — who got to know each other through their participation in the various social activities organised in the city.
The friends are from varied backgrounds. Makizhnan's father was a driver but hasn't been in work for a while now. Gaurav is from a village in Sathyamangalam and his parents are into farming, while Joshua is from Vellore and his parents teach in a school there.
Being staunch followers of Ambedkar and Periyar ideologies, the group believes that the 'so-called modern society', which enjoys the ambience of malls and sky scrapers, are discriminating those on whose lands these buildings were constructed. Joshua says, "It is saddening that even the construction workers who helped construct the very building are restricted from entering it."