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First of all I wonder whether the British headdress in India was somehow designed to resemble the headdress of the Indo-Greeks and Greco-Bactrians? For example, this is the image of Eucratides I, the Greco-Bactrian king minted on a coin (Indo-Greeks wore similar helms):

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/40/EucratidesStatere.jpg/220px-EucratidesStatere.jpg

To me it bears resemblance to a typical British helm of the time:

enter image description here

I also read a point of view that the British monarch was declared emperor of India because the Indo-Greek kings called themselves "Basileos of India". I wonder whether it is true and whether there were other parallels?

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More likely explanation is convergent evolution in hat design. –  DVK Feb 8 '13 at 14:42
    
Probably not consciously. But a hat with a wide brim is very useful in a hot climate, so it's little wonder both came up with it. –  Felix Goldberg Feb 8 '13 at 15:41
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@Felix Goldberg still the natives of India and other warm countries such as Egypt, Kenya, Thailand did not wear such hats. –  Anixx Feb 8 '13 at 15:54
    
@Anixx: Good point. So what is your explanation? (Perhaps the natives were naturally acclimatized? Pigmentation and all that) –  Felix Goldberg Feb 8 '13 at 17:30
    
@Felix Goldberg no, they had different styles of headwear, quite popular being a turban. –  Anixx Feb 8 '13 at 17:42
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1 Answer

That particular helmet is of 20th century design - 19th century pith helmets were initially modelled on the Pickelhaube. No hellenic connection as far as I can see.

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The WP page for pith helmets has information on this. –  coleopterist Feb 8 '13 at 17:32
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