We are delighted to be celebrating MANN+HUMMEL’s 75th Anniversary. Our colleagues in Germany are collecting articles from every location where MANN+HUMMEL has a factory or office. These articles reflect the local ethnicity and culture and will be placed in a time capsule to form a lasting collection. The two production facilities in India – Tumkur in the south and Bawal in the north – have chosen their essentials and they are both articles of clothing. One for the head and one for the feet!
The headdress of kings
The southern State of Karnataka is the home of the MANN+HUMMEL factory in Tumkur as well as our office in Bengaluru (Bangalore). Karnataka was originally called Mysore until the name was changed in 1973. Our essential, the Mysore Peta, is the traditional silk turban of the Kings of Mysore, the Wodeyar family, who ruled the kingdom from 1399 to 1947. The Kings did not have crowns but wore a Mysore Peta decorated with fine gold threaded lace and multi-coloured jewels. But it wasn’t just the Kings that wore these special turbans; courtiers and senior officials, such as the Prime Minister, who was appointed by the King, also showed off their power and position by wearing the turban.
Since India`s independence in 1947, the Mysore Peta has become a symbol of heritage and culture for the people of Karnataka. To honour public service and good deeds, citizens are awarded a special Mysore Peta by the State. In fact, Prince William was presented with a turban during a recent official visit. Even at one university in the state, students graduate wearing the turban instead of a mortar board. It really is a symbol of the State of Karnataka and known all over India – and I hope after you have read this article – around the world.
The most versatile footwear
The essential we have chosen to represent the MANN+HUMMEL plant in Bawal, just southwest of our nation’s capital, New Delhi, is the Jutti. These shoes are very versatile; they can be plain and simple in design or very fancy, depending on the occasion. The design is mostly unisex but Jutti for men have a pointed, curved toe called a nokh. If you see someone wearing Jutti, you know they are from the northern Rajasthan or Haryana areas as this type of footwear is only found in the north of India.
Jutti are every-day wear in rural communities as they are cheap and durable. But in these days of fashion upgrades, there are also Jutti’s which can be heavy on your pocket as well. Unlike most shoes, they have no left or right but, as they are worn so regularly, they mould into the shape of the foot making them very comfortable to wear. Highly decorated and intricate Jutti are worn at important ceremonies, for instance at weddings. This is not just for cultural reasons but also to raise the style quotient. And most importantly, if you have ever been to an Indian wedding, you know it can last for days – so having comfortable shoes is a must!
Our two essentials are now on their way to the MANN+HUMMEL technology centre in Ludwigsburg to join other articles from around the world. We are proud that these items are representing India and highlighting our long heritage and diverse culture.