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Sorry Saree!

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by GeetaKashyap, Feb 22, 2018.

  1. GeetaKashyap

    GeetaKashyap IL Hall of Fame

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    The sari is associated with grace and is widely regarded as a symbol of grace in cultures of the Indian subcontinent. The sari was worn only as a draped garment without any blouse or petticoat, but now is usually worn over a petticoat, with a fitted upper garment commonly called a blouse. The usage of blouse and petticoat came after the Mughal and British Raj. The word sari described in Sanskrit शाटी śāṭī which means 'strip of cloth' and शाडी śāḍī or साडी sāḍī in Pali, and which was corrupted to sāṛī in modern Indian languages. The word 'Sattika' is mentioned as describing women's attire in ancient India in Sanskrit literature and Buddhist literature called Jatakas. This could be equivalent to modern day 'Sari'. The term for female bodice, the choli evolved from ancient Stanapatta. Rajatarangini (meaning the 'river of kings'), a tenth-century literary work by Kalhana, states that the choli from the Deccan was introduced under the royal order in Kashmir.

    [​IMG]
    **In the history of Indian clothing the sari is traced back to the Indus Valley Civilisation, which flourished during 2800–1800 BC around the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent


    The sari evolved from a three-piece ensemble comprising the Antriya, the lower garment; the Uttariya; a veil worn over the shoulder or the head; and the Stanapatta, a chestband. This ensemble is mentioned in Sanskrit literature and Buddhist Pali literature during the 6th century B.C. This complete three-piece dress was known as Poshak, generic term for costume.[ Ancient Antriya closely resembled dothi wrap in the "fishtail" version which was passed through legs, covered the legs loosely and then flowed into a long, decorative pleats at front of the legs. It further evolved into Bhairnivasani skirt, today known as ghagri and lehenga. Uttariya was a shawl-like veil worn over the shoulder or head, it evolved into what is known today as dupatta and ghoongat. Likewise, Stanapatta evolved into choli by 1st century A.D. Between 2nd century B.C to 1st century A.D, Antariya and Uttariya was merged to form a single garment known as sari mentioned in Pali literature, which served the purpose of two garments in one-piece.

    The ancient Sanskrit work, Kadambari by Banabhatta and ancient Tamil poetry, such as the Silappadhikaram, describes women in exquisite drapery or sari. In ancient India, although women wore saris that bared the midriff, the Dharmasastra writers stated that women should be dressed such that the navel would never become visible. By which for some time the navel exposure became a taboo and the navel was concealed. In ancient Indian tradition and the Natya Shastra (an ancient Indian treatise describing ancient dance and costumes), the navel of the Supreme Being is considered to be the source of life and creativity, hence the midriff is to be left bare by the sari. The nivi is today's most popular sari style from Andhra Pradesh.

    [​IMG]
    **Illustration of different styles of sari, gagra choli & shalwar kameez worn by women in the Indian subcontinent.


    Source: Sari - Wikipedia


    Lately, this beautiful Indian garment is seen less on women and more in the battles of the virtual world. In these bitter battles, the humble saree is getting dyed in political and religious colours.

    An opinion piece in New York Times (NYT) dated November 12, 2017, linking saree with Hindu nationalism by Asgar Qadri, who supposedly describes himself as 'born in Indian Controlled Kashmir', created furore on social media. I wonder how much awareness he has about the regional attires. His photographs show him in regular men’s clothing (western) and not in the traditional Kashmiri dress, and does that mean he is betraying his nationality, state and religion?

    This writer with a single track mind wrote,

    “Since the Bharatiya Janata Party formed a national government in 2014, the Indian fashion industry has been pressed to aggressively promote traditional attire and bypass Western styles. The effort aligns with the party’s broader political program: to project multi-faith India, a country of more than 1.3 billion, as a Hindu nation.

    And with Narendra Modi, the party’s strongman of Hindu nationalism, as prime minister, fears that the country would head into a phase of aggressive nationalism have largely come true. Members of minority communities, accused of being disrespectful to cows, sacred to Hindus, have been lynched. Critics of Mr Modi have been branded as “anti-national,” some shot and killed by Hindu nationalist activists.

    Fashion, and how Indians think of it, has not been exempt. Mr Modi has made the traditional dress a priority and, as many in the country want to please him, the fashion industry has followed along.”


    Source: In India, Fashion Has Become a Nationalist Cause

    Could there be anything more ridiculous than this false propaganda?

    Sarees are worn by women across India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore and many other countries including Pakistan. By and large, Sarees are worn by women across India except in a few states. There may be some regional variations and differences in its popularity but sarees have existed for centuries in the Indian subcontinent even before BJP or RSS came into existence. Our ex-Prime Minister Smt. Indira Gandhi was one of the women who wore sarees in the most graceful manner. Even Sonia Gandhi is always seen in sarees, especially in public spaces. Nobody ever accused them of saffronising. But ever since BJP came to power, people seem to link everything they say or do to saffronisation!

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Indira Gandhi Sheik Hasina (Bangladesh)


    “Soha Ali Khan recently posted a couple of pictures of herself with husband Kunal Khemu. She was seen wearing a pink sari, and it looked like the party was a traditional baby shower for Soha. While many of her fans did love the adorable pictures she posted, there were others who slammed the actor for not wishing Eid or mentioning the same in the post. Not only has the post slammed the actor for wearing a sari, and not acting like a Muslim woman, it has also started arguments between people about the Quran, and the holy book’s teachings.

    Two members on Instagram, in particular, have continued their heated discussion about the religion, which passed on to Soha Ali Khan as well. While not all of the comments are hate driven, the ones which attack these actors are extreme. There are even members who have taken to posting long messages such as ‘The simple facts of Islam that make it nothing but a cult of insanity’, which reflects the state of tolerance that people have on social media.”



    Source: Soha Ali Khan trolled for wearing sari, her response is grace itself. See photos

    Just about a year ago, the social media went berserk with the name, Taimur Khan! Wonder why is our nation being torn in the name of religion and politics?

    “There was a time when high-profile Pakistani women like Fatima Jinnah, Naheed Mirza and Begum Liaquat Ali Khan, as well as Nusrat Bhutto, wore the sari unapologetically, and with elan. But then that was before General Zia came along and officially announced the sari to be “un-Islamic”. Politically, thanks to Zia, the sari in Pakistan belongs to a bygone era—it’s too much of an expression of “enlightened moderation”, as President Musharraf would put it. The sari is a “softer” image of Pakistan that reveals too much of a woman’s body for an Islamic republic. It also connotes too much tolerance for India, for political or public figures to be seen in one. Definitely not in the election year at least, which is why no woman parliamentarian today goes to the assembly in a sari. However, politics hasn’t stopped fashionable Pakistani women from once again expressing allegiance to the six yards of fabric that manages to stir up enough controversy amongst right-wing zealots and nationalists alike. After all, there’s nothing like a bare midriff to get the mullahs up in arms.

    While it will never replace the salwar kameez in mass popularity, the sari most certainly does not face the risk of extinction either. Apart from being worn by Parsis and Hindus in Pakistan, it is also donned by women from (non-Punjabi) Urdu-speaking families.”

    [​IMG]


    Source:www.somethinghaute.com/sari-trend-fashion-pakistan/

    I wonder how many people raised their voices against victimizing saree and relating it exclusively to Hinduism. Why do people forget that saree is a geographically linked attire and identification?

    What is wrong if during his political campaign in Banaras, which also happens to be his constituency, if Mr Modi promised to revive the tradition of the Banarasi saree and to help its weavers? How can anyone even with a bit of general knowledge not understand that a significant percentage of this constituency’s electorate is poor weavers (mostly Muslim) following their family trade? Did people expect him to tell them that he would start a great irrigation project in Rajasthan or build some bridge in Karnataka? That would be totally irrelevant to them!

    Looking at the paranoia some people have, in a lighter vein, I think we must declare our Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi as ‘The most responsible man’, as he is always held responsible for all kinds of things; natural or man-made!!!

    Fashion designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee is the latest to join the Saree war. Addressing Indian students at a Harvard India Conference, the designer said, “I think, if you tell me that you do not know how to wear a sari, I would say shame on you. It’s a part of your culture, (you) need (to) stand up for it.” No sooner did the news hit social media, people – especially women – took to Twitter and came forward to slam the designer and others who think it’s acceptable to tell women what to do and what not.

    After facing severe backlash and getting brutally trolled in the online space, Sabyasachi apologised and shed light on his perspective in a long open letter on Instagram. “I once again apologise for the distress caused,” he wrote and added, “My intent was to call out those women who proudly proclaim that they don’t wear saris and simultaneously shame others who wear saris by saying it makes them look older, backward, or culturally repressed.”


    Source: I am sorry I used the word ‘shame’: Sabyasachi apologises for sari comment in open letter

    Controversy or otherwise, saree definitely makes every woman look beautiful. Lately, following fashion trends and for practical reasons, western attires and salwar Kameez have replaced sarees across India including rural areas in southern India. Still, for special occasions saree is the garment to go to. The sheer variety of materials, weaves and prints make saree a favourite dress amongst Indians. As saree is just a running material of 5.5 to 6 metres, anyone can wear it and it can be used for decades. They even survive generations retaining their beauty and utility. When a saree becomes old or simply if its owner gets bored of it, it can be remodelled into dresses, door curtains, chaddars(Blankets) and what not! I think this truly multipurpose garment should be celebrated and it should not be dragged into controversies so often.


    All images have been taken from the internet for representation purposes only.
    ************************************************************************
     
    satchitananda, Amica, jskls and 13 others like this.
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  2. Sandycandy

    Sandycandy IL Hall of Fame

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    Agree 100% . Leave the damn saree alone ! Let women that enjoy wearing a saree wear it and not shame the ones that don’t want to wear it . We don’t need Sabyasachi to start shaming women, he should be ashamed himself for making his sarees unaffordable to majority of women in India . Only the likes of Aishwarya Rai can afford to buy one. Why doesn’t he come out with a “middle class collection” if he wishes to encourage women to don a saree.
     
  3. periamma

    periamma IL Hall of Fame

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    @GeetaKashyap Well written about Saree. Saree is not for a particular religion it is just an attire. Why do people link politics with Saree?Mostly in south Asian countries women wear Saree. I remember Srilankan president Mrs. Bandaranayake, wives of Srilankan Presidents and one news reader NoelHunter wearing Saree.Their religion is Buddhism. People should stop talking nonsense on religion. I want to share an incident related to Saree. When I went to Walmart a lady came near me and said you look graceful in Saree. She pointed my hip and said Look my dress covers most part of my body but your Saree gives beauty to your body.Ada Rama what is she saying? Does she think exposing our body is beauty? Sorry for giving long response
     
  4. iyerviji

    iyerviji Finest Post Winner

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    Saree gives grace to a person wearing. In present age mostly youngsters like to wear chudidhars because it is comfortable. But for occasions it looks good and graceful.
     
  5. Sunburst

    Sunburst Platinum IL'ite

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    I rarely wore a saree in India but now that I live here , I long to wear one . I usually donate my old clothes including salwar suits but when it comes to sarees , I have a hard time letting it go . So I keep hoarding new ones for some “special occasion “ without ever using them .

    As for sabya, I think his comment stems from the usual connotation that comes with wearing a saree. Terms like “Aunty ji”, “behanji” are often used and young woman are often ridiculed for wearing sarees or salwar suits while booty shorts are so cool . I think his comment was taken out of context by feminist and seems like people all over Twitter spinning yarns of attacks for nothing !
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2018
  6. GeetaKashyap

    GeetaKashyap IL Hall of Fame

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    That is a good point, Sandy.
     
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  7. GeetaKashyap

    GeetaKashyap IL Hall of Fame

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    @periamma,

    This reply is not long and there is absolutely no need to apologise. I liked your anecdote:) Most of South Asia has some variant of a saree as a traditional costume and the beauty of saree is in its flexibility to highlight or hide curves as per our wish.
     
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  8. GeetaKashyap

    GeetaKashyap IL Hall of Fame

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    I agree with you totally, Vijima.
     
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  9. GeetaKashyap

    GeetaKashyap IL Hall of Fame

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    You are so right, Sunny. Sarees can be loaded with sentimental values and the very fact that they can survive generations stops us from giving away. I still have my granny's sarees with me:)

    I agree with your comment on Sabyasachi too, it was taken out of context. I think modern attires score over sarees in comfort. I started wearing sarees on and off in my teen years because it made me look really good. During my post-graduation years, I mainly wore sarees and then even while working that was my attire. I shifted to salwar much later due to some bodily discomfort issues. In my 30s I was teased and branded as an aunty by the women in 40s because of my exclusive saree wearing!
     
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  10. yellowmango

    yellowmango IL Hall of Fame

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    I think he meant the shaming of women who don't wear saree ...for whatever reason ,since he had no such strong words for men who let the lungi die( his own words).Like saving culture is a women's only responsibility because guys will be guys. May be we should start wearing dhotis too ....multitasking.

    The strong reaction that he got must have surprised him .He probably expected more support from the culture brigade and the new post anushka kohli marriage fans.
    The strong reaction resulted in him giving out a well thought out explanation .

    I think the outrage to the public shaming was well deserved.
    I also think that the explanation given is also good but I wonder if that was the original reason for the shaming.

    As for his sarees.....while he is a brilliant designer....his sarees are often very over hyped not to mention over priced.

    Usually it is a very easily available traditional saree with his signature lace border added to it.Not a big deal . And he does pass off the ' dhekedaar of Indian sarees ' vibe at times. Like he started the banarasees and the Kanjeevarams.

    I find ayush kejriwal's silk sarees far more creative and ' designer,' than the just add the border sabyasaachi.. love sabyacachi lehengas though.
     
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