Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Rajputian Moustache

Imbued with both historical significance and straight-up vanity, the image of the majestic mouche followed us everywhere in Rajasthan. While in exile, a celebrated Rajput King, Maharana Pratap (1542-1597) gets a letter from his cousin about the Mughal emperor, Akbar's planned seige of the kingdom of Udaipur. Knowing Akbar's might, the cousin asks if he should "keep his hand over his mustache" (various translations - from twirling the moustache, to wearing the moustache in an upturned arch vs. turned down) or take his life with his own sword. Maharana Pratap famously writes back that he must wear his moustache turned up proudly as a symbol of defiance and they successfully fend off the Mughals for the ensuing years. As seen on the streets today, the tradition continues.

Thursday, January 01, 2009