Mayor's tryst with gown

Mayor's tryst with gown

Practice

Mayor the first citizen of Mysore is complete only with sartorial elegance. Many do not know, that  the imposing gown, was the gift of Britishers, that is still being followed as a practice since Mysore City Corporation (MCC) came into existence in 1983.

Senior corporator H N Srikantaiah, who had also decorated the key post of Mayor considered as ‘First Citizen of Mysore’ told City Herald, Bangalore City Corporation (now Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike) was the first to continue with this practice in the State.  When MCC came into being, the first Mayor P Vishwanath decorated the chair with the ‘black gown’. Since then it has become an integral part of the civic body.

As is the tradition, whenever a corporator becomes a mayor, he or she wears black coloured gown, symbol of assuming charge. They also wear it for council meeting. But, for the arrival of VIPs like President, Vice-president, Prime Minister, Central Minister, Governor, Chief Minister and other important occasions, maroon coloured gown is worn, as a mark of respect. Yellow lace on  the border,  makes it  more appealing.

Why two different coloured gowns? Srikantaiah says, it would look monotonous with the same gown. Hence, it was designed with two different colours. Before independence, the Britishers appeared before  VIPs from England, with maroon gowns, during the latter’s arrival. When compared to foreign countries where the Mayors wear a huge gold chain with their respective country’s emblem during the meetings and important occasions, it’s only in India where Mayors stand distinctively apart with gown.

Whenever the Mayor at MCC, relinquishes the chair after his or her tenure, they are presented with the same gowns, as a gift.

About the dress

The gowns made of velvet cloth, look bright, enhancing the stature of the wearer. Whenever any new Mayor takes charge, the tailors stitch the gown suitable to their (new Mayor) size. It takes a fortnight to complete the job.

The hands that craft...

The hands that craft the gowns also deserve a mention. Balaji Rao of the famous Mysore Tailor House, was the gown maker till his demise a few months ago. His daughter-in-law Vidya, who had learnt the nuances from her father-in-law, during his lifetime, has taken over the mantle.

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