Clothing : A social history

Nair ladies of Malabar


Class : IX std

Locality : CBSE schools in Malabar districts of Kerala(Kannur,Kozhikode and Malappuram)

Subject : Local history

Estimated time : 4 classes(30min) + ½ day field trip

Topic : Clothing ; A social history

Transformation in colonial India -Malabar region ,Kerala

Prerequisites : This chapter will be in continuum to chapter 8.Clothing : A social history of NCERT syllabus, IX std.

Contents : Lesson plan

Teaching material

Set of photographs for teacher

List of books and movies

Group assignment format

Deliverable folder-students work

Contents of the chapter

Introduction & background

  1. Introduction to time period

2. Major global and national events-influence

3. Drive for a national dress

4. How pan Indian style failed?

5. Probe into style in Kerala

Indigenous dressing styles of Malabar

  1. Different styles, objects and elements

2. Clothing and religion

3. Clothing and caste divide

4. Material, color and production

Transformation and factors

  1. Caste conflict and revolutions

2. British rule and dress code

3. Transformation in women clothing

4. Influence of political and industrial revolution

Swadeshi movement

  1. Gandhian principles-national level

2. Khadi movement in Malabar

3. For and against

Learning objectives

Introduction & background

Students should be able to place the various events that influenced the clothing patterns globally and nationally.

Students should be able to relate changes in clothing to the events learned in the previous chapters.

Point out why national dress failed and different ways in which British rule influenced upper caste clothing.

Indigenous dressing styles of Malabar

Students should be able to identify almost all different dressing styles recorded of Malabar.

Students should be able to give reasons for various elements in the dressing style.

Transformation and factors

Students should be able to name and explain the factors that lead to transformation in clothing after British rule and independence.

Swadeshi movement

Students should be able to explain the part of Malabar in the khadi movement.

Students should be able to explain the process of khadi making.

Lecture plan Day 1

Introduction & background

Pre activity 8–10 min

Ask 3–4 students from the class to create a timeline from 1850–1950 on the board based on their previous history classes. Give or prompt a list of events to the students to fill on the timeline and help them when stuck.The timeline is in two levels-global and national events.The list of events is provided to the teacher in the material.

Lecture 1 15 min

With the help of the timeline created, explain the following events in the national level to create a base.

Indian style of dressing

Colonial influence on dressing

Drive for a national dress

How pan Indian style failed?

Refer to material for images and content.

Assignment/Activity 1 5 min

Conclude by putting an open ended question in front of the students and give hints or initial ideas.

‘What was the clothing in our locality(Malabar) during the same time period? Did everyone wear similar type of clothing or was it different?’

  1. Ask students to collect old photos from the elders in their family or newspaper cuttings or artifacts related to clothing during the period for the next class.(scan and upload)

2. Give a list of old malayalam books to read and update.

3. Connect with the elderlies through students for the experience sharing session in the 3rd class.

Lecture plan Day 2

Indigenous dressing styles of Malabar

Discussion 5 min

Ask students about the materials and information they have gathered and the experience and stories shared by their elders. Ask 1 or 2 students to share what they have come across in the books. Through a fast review, collect 5 photos from the lot (depicting different castes). Add few typical photos from the archives explain through discussion in the next lecture.

Lecture 2 10 min

Pin up the photos on the board and explain different styles and elements of clothing(broadly).

1. Clothing and religion.

2. Clothing and caste divide



Brahmins and namboothiris


Lower caste



Local Christians


Activity 2 10 min

While explaining demonstrate with images and help students to form groups with the different kinds of images they have.

Group assignment 5 min

Formulate 9 groups with a set of images and ask them to identify elements ,reasons for these elements, factors that influenced and prepare an archive.

Ask students to come prepared for dressing exhibition with each group forming a family of the particular caste or style assigned to them.

Format for archiving the information

Lecture plan Day 3

Transformation and factors

Pre activity 5 min

Roleplay and exhibition of work.Document the entire process.

Lecture 3 15 min

Caste conflict and revolutions

British rule and dress code

Transformation in women clothing

Influence of political and industrial revolution

Reference : Ravi verma paintings

Activity 8 min

Experience sharing by family members or Old malayalam movie clips


Provide reading material about Manjeri Rama iyer , a freedom fighter from calicut and his role in the swadeshi movement.

Reading material on transformation in clothing and factors

1.Missionaries and Malabar

2.Clash of cultures in malabar

3. Women and clothing

Lecture plan Day 4

Swadeshi Movement

Talk with freedom fighter 15 min

For example, Manjeri Rama Iyer was a prominent freedom fighter of Malabar.A talk with his son or member of family can be arranged for the class. Students have to come prepared with questions.Encourage students to interact freely with him.

Record the event.

Lecture 4 10 min

With the aid of insights from the freedom fighter,make the lecture of the following topic interesting.

  1. Gandhian principles-national level

2. Khadi movement in malabar

3. For and against Khadi

Short film screening 5 min

Khadi — the fabric of freedom

A film directed by Kanika Myer, it is a tribute to the freedom movement in India and how Khadi was a means of self-enpowerment that swept the country.


Make a report of the events of the day and insights gathered from the talk and movie.

Day trip


  1. Comtrust Textile factory, Mananchira
  2. Gandhigram Handloom centre, Mavoor road


  1. Concluding the chapter in a happy note
  2. How khadi is made and how malabar was part of the entire movement.


Travelogue — individual report


Formative assessment

Formative assessment is based on the individual participation and attention in the activities and discussion that followed the class. Evaluation of group assignment forms 50% of the total evaluation.

Help in archiving and documenting the class also brings incentive points.

Summative assessment

  1. Give 5 images from the exam folder(1)to the students.

Q. Identify and explain briefly

a. timeperiod

b.caste and religion

c. Various elements in clothing

d. Factors that lead to the formation of these elements

e.Changes and reasons for change of the particular clothing

2.Give 2 images from exam folder(2)

Image 1
Image 2

a. Identify the 2 dressing styles

b. Explain the events that lead to the changes from 1 to 2.

3. Explain swadeshi movement and khadi with references from the talk and the day trip.

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