Friday 5 April 2013

The Smart Schoolchildren of India

Whenever you are out and about in Mumbai - or anywhere else in India for that matter - you will see children sporting a wonderful array of school uniforms on their way to class. Unlike the boring navy blue, grey and black attire of the schoolchildren in my home country, Indian uniforms come in a rainbow of colours and a variety of designs.  Surprisingly, most of the uniforms are Western style with pleated skirts, pinafores or neatly pressed trousers, short sleeved shirts, and the odd pullover.  The styles are so old fashioned, so British mid-century, that they remind me of my own boarding school days! 

The dress requirements of all religions are catered for - I have seen complete cover-up Muslim uniforms with headscarves and I have seen traditional Indian salwar kameez with dupatta draped around the neck.  The dupattas come pre-folded and pinned to ensure they don't fall off whilst playing.  Children who attend Catholic schools sport the widest variety of dress materials and I love the fact some of them are tartan, gingham or checked!

Just some of the photos I have of children on school trips! Most of these shots were taken on my travels.

The children themselves can put our own to shame.  It doesn't matter where they come from - be it a slum or Mumbai's burgeoning upper classes - each and every child is immaculately turned out with clean and neatly pressed uniforms, pigtails for the girls and combed side partings for the boys. I am used to experiencing British children on the top deck of the bus, shouting, screaming, playing their music loudly and generally abusing the other passengers.  OK, so you will see Indian schoolchildren also shouting wildly (especially when you come near with a camera!) but there is no verbal abuse...just respect, fun and laughter. My heart always warms to them.

Girls waiting to get into a Tea Museum in Munnar, Kerala.
Very fancy waistcoat/skirt combos and not a flip-flop in sight!

My post is called 'The Smart Schoolchildren of India' because they are smart in more ways than one.  They take their education very seriously here. Work hard at school and get on in life. That's what they all think and that's what they all do. These children wear their uniforms with pride.

From the collage above you can see that I have accumulated quite a collection of photos over the last year.  There is always a big line of children when you are waiting to get into a fort or museum and they always demand to have their photo taken whilst shouting hello in their best English (or 'Namaste!').

Thanks for looking!

This little girl in her gingham frock is being given
a lift to school on her grandfather's bike (Worli Fishing Village, Mumbai)

Giggling school girls in their immaculate, mid-century style checked uniforms (outside the Dutch Museum in Cochin)

Not school children but trainee policemen on a jog! (Mumbai)
This rickshaw driver is pulling six well groomed girls to school (Varanasi)
Children not in their uniforms - the day we visited this school in a Kaziranga village, the girls were wearing traditional Assamese dress for a Hindu festival.  Note their hair all neatly tied back. So adorable!

School girls treating themselves on the way home from school.
These uniforms are traditional Indian salwar kameez with dupatta held in place by epaulettes.  Lovely colours!
Boys in immaculate white trousers and shirts - surely dirtied after a day's safari in dusty Kaziranga National Park


  1. What wonderful children, and "smart" is the right word for them. The uniforms are attractive, as you say.

  2. Those looped pigtails and regulation school ribbons get me every time. Lovely post.

  3. First time I saw a blog post, especially on school informs of a particular country. I have to agree that they were gorgeous and beautiful colors. Though I am not a votary of uniforms, I advocate freedom of choice in what you would want to wear to school.

    I think there should be a post on school uniforms being worn in various countries.



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