The Khulla and Pagri, the traditional head dress of Indian Muslim Troops.

Discussion in 'British Indian Army' started by Leigh McCann, Dec 12, 2009.

  1. Leigh McCann

    Leigh McCann Junior Member

    I have just bought myself a British made WW2 dated 'Khulla' worn by Indian Muslim troops. The khulla is a conical type head covering around which a 'Pargri' (turban) is wrapped.

    My khulla is War Department marked and is made from heavy khaki corduroy.

    When the pagri is wrapped around the khulla, the loose end is left protruding above the pagri in the manner of a fan tail. This is known as the 'Shamla'. See last illustration.

    As I only have the khulla and I would like to complete this piece of WW2 Commonwealth headgear, I'll have to make a pagri myself.
    I was wondering if anybody out there may have an idea of the dimensions and material type of the Indian Army military pagri as used in the Second World War.

    I have been able to find one set of pagri size dimensions, these being 20 Inches wide by 15 Yards long. This is just a generic size I was able to find when researching turbans.

    However I feel that if the pagri is made from standard British Khaki Drill material the above figure would make the pagri a bit too large and very thick when worn. The size might be OK if it is made from a linen type material though.

    Does anybody out there any any ideas or advice as to the correct pagri size and material.

    A picture of the khulla from the vendor.

    The khulla and pagri being worn.

    The following illustration is by Mike Chapple and is found in Ian Summer's Book The Indian Army 1914-1947, By Osprey Publishing, 2001.
  2. Leigh McCann

    Leigh McCann Junior Member

    Another illustration by Mike Chapple showing the khulla and pagri.
  3. idler

    idler GeneralList Patron

    Lungi seems to be an alternative term for the pagri and might be worth following up. Source
  4. Leigh McCann

    Leigh McCann Junior Member

    Thanks for the tip idler.
    I am looking it up.:)
  5. GS59

    GS59 Member

    I have an Indian Aeirtex BD jacket, an Indian shirt, a short, a Khula and a belt which is probably Indian too.
    I think I'll constitue a new mannequin but I need informations (difficult to have any informations in France)
    -Was the Khula only be worn by the Moslem troops ?
    -Is it possible to find a pagry ? Indian shoes (battle boots)
    -Have you pics showing Indian troops equipment and uniforms ?
    Thanks a lot.
  6. sol

    sol Very Senior Member

  7. GS59

    GS59 Member

  8. sol

    sol Very Senior Member

    And what's about the Pagri ? Was it only worn by Muslem troops ?

    Well I don't think so. Looks that Pagri is a term for turban within India and many units from India Army wore them (Sikh, Punjabi Muslims, Rajputs, Baluch ...). Off course there are different types of Pagri but I don't know difference between them.
  9. GS59

    GS59 Member

    I just found one (a complete one)

    Now I'm looking for field shoes...
  10. IKE26

    IKE26 Member


    I have a question.
    Anyone knows if in Italy during the WWII other "martial classes" used turban in addition to Sikhs?

    I know Gurkhas and Mahrattas used the "Brodie" helmet.
    Punjabi Muslims?

  11. idler

    idler GeneralList Patron

    I believe most non-Sikh classes had given up pagris/turbans by then, but there's bound to be some in photos...

    From memory, even in India the Cap, GS became the authorised 'soft' headdress for most classes in 1944.

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