We have always associated the Indian Navy with the white coloured uniforms they wear. Flashes of news, republic day parades etc have reiterated this so much, that we have accepted this as an obvious fact. This is the reason why perhaps most of us are not aware of the rationale behind the choice of white. In our armed forces, every little element comes as the result of much forethought and consideration and the uniform of the Indian Navy is no different. Here we present you 10 reasons why the Indian Navy wears white uniforms:
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#1 White keeps you cool.
The white colour reflects sunlight and keeps the person wearing it cool. In the case of dark coloured clothes, they absorb heat and make you feel hotter. If an officer has to be at the deck for a long time, as many in the Indian Navy do, then white clothes are preferable to dark ones. This is a major reason why the majority of naval uniforms are white, across different cultures.
#2 White can be easily identified.
As white reflects most of the light that falls on it, white is easily recognisable. This is especially useful if there is low visibility, darkness etc. White increases one’s chances of being rescued at sea or even underwater. Now, imagine a scenario where there is a power outage in the ship or submarine. White increases the sailor’s visibility and could be crucial to surviving the blackout.
#3 White has symbolic significance.
White is considered a symbol of purity, integrity and peace. By adopting white, the Indian Navy is signifying its adherence to the highest moral principles. Additionally, because this symbolism exists across cultures when a layperson sees an officer, they would unconsciously associate him with positive values in general.
#4 White can be indicative of hygiene or cleanliness.
It takes very little to ruin a white shirt. Spots, marks and stains of all kinds stick out in a white cloth. Bearing this in mind, naval personnel are expected to clean themselves regularly and take meticulous care of their clothing. Such an attitude has two kinds of benefits. The first one would obviously be personal hygiene and a sense of decorum. The other benefit would be the care officers put into each and every task so that they don’t spill or stain anything.
#5 White has much history associated with it.
Right from ancient times, seafarers in all parts of the world have worn white clothes. One could argue that different cultures chose white for numerous reasons, often diametrically opposed to one another. But, the fact that white has been part of naval traditions for centuries means that it has a certain cultural significance. The Indian Navy is paying homage to these traditions by choosing white.
#6 White looks stylish.
While the choice of colour is quite subjective, White is commonly seen as representing dignity and class. Formal wear in many parts of the world is either exclusively white or incorporates a lot of white fabrics. The same quality of white lends our navy personnel an air of elegance and style.
#7 White used to be inexpensive.
White clothes basically used to be bleached cotton or wool. This meant that adopting white could save the cost associated with dying and processing. In addition to that, as white doesn’t fade due to sunlight, a white cloth was a long term investment for sailors in the past.
#8 White, a combination of seven colours, signifies the integration of seven seas.
We know that White is the integration of 7 colours i.e. Violet, Indigo, Blue, Green, Yellow, Orange and Red (VIBGYOR). The Indian Navy has used this to represent the combination of ‘seven-seas’ of the world. It denotes that we are capable of navigating the ‘seven-seas’ and is upto the challenge in any part of the world.
#9 White clothes historically date back a long time.
White was quite probably the colour of the oldest clothes that humankind ever wore. Cotton was the main source of cloth fabric, dating back a very long time. Various techniques of dyeing the fabric also came much later in human history. By choosing white, the Indian navy (and most other navies) is tipping its cap to the earliest form of fabric.
#10 White is minimalistic.
The colour white represents a minimalistic aesthetic. This goes rather well with the discipline and the ideals of the Indian Navy. The officers are supposed to embody a dignified persona without being too flashy or distasteful. White accurately represents the ethos of our navy, without overstating its own ideals.
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