Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Hair and the clash of cultures

March 2009 issue of Allure
The March 2009 issue of Allure features an article The Locks Market about the global trade in human hair to make wigs and hair extensions. It focuses on the Tirumala temple in India, where Hindu women have their hair shorn as a gesture of humility and thankfulness.

The article describes the process that the hair undergoes from being shorn to being made into extensions. The hair changes hands from temple auctions to Indian hair brokers who sell it to Indian factories that sort, clean, and fumigate hair, which in turn sell it to wig and extension makers in Italy or Tunisia. Then the finished products are sold to distributors all around the world.

We gave our hair to God, Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh, India credit: weblogtheworld.com
It’s a fascinating read, but it’s only part of the story. Orthodox Jewish women often cover their heads with a wig. A rabbinical ruling forbade the purchase and wearing of wigs from hair that came from Hindu temples such as Tirumala, which are regarded as polytheistic and idolatrous. These rulings also apply to getting rid of the wigs – one cannot sell them, as it only perpetuates the trade. When Orthodox Jewish women in New York discovered that the human hair in their wigs came from Hindu temples, they destroyed the wigs by burning them.

This article is cross-posted at Mera Bharat Mahan.

1 comment:

Isa das said...

Now That the Chief Rabbi of Israel has said the Jews and Hindus worship the same God how will things change.