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Designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee recently shamed women who cannot drape a saree! Here’s why his statement is harmful and needs serious reconsideration.
Desi designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee got carried away recently while addressing Indian students at the Harvard India conference. He shot off that the women who did not know how to drape a saree should be ashamed of themselves.
Now that’s a tad bit over the top and presumptuous. As much as we drool over your creations, this is not called for! Respecting our roots and traditions is one thing and being practical in our dressing is another ball game.
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You go gaga over Ms. Padukone flaunting sarees but remember that her job is to look good. Ask her what she’s comfortable in and the answer may make you uncomfortable!
The era when women would dress up in sarees was a different time. Those women did not commute in buses or hang on the train rails. Though a lot of them still do but majority of them would prefer something simpler. It’s the social mores and their own fear of ‘log kya kahenge’ that often makes them opt for saree. And your stray comments just made their job tougher.
Can you even envision the accident prone nature of the garment you are advocating for such women?
Now your counter argument is about fighting wars dressed in sarees. Agreed. But barring a few, how many women were actually fighting a war? And for that matter even the ones who did had to modify it so they could get astride a horse without discomfiture. And on hypothetical grounds, how many would have really chosen to wear a saree while doing this, if they had a choice?
The saree is a wonderful garment. There is no denying that the drape flatters the Indian women’s figures. But linking it to tradition and calling us ‘socially insecure’ is carrying it too far.
If wearing western outfits is a sign of ‘major disconnect’, then Mr. Mukherjee you too are guilty of the same crime! How many times have you been clicked in shirts and trousers even in formal events? Did you even consider wearing a traditional dhoti?
It’s your job to make the saree relevant in today’s time and you have done a commendable job at it. But do not shame us because we choose to wear something which is convenient and comfortable.
You cannot take away our right to choose by making us feel embarrassed of our choices!
We know your job is to sell your wares, but in the zeal to do so please refrain from such unnecessary propaganda. Your stuff is beautiful and the ones who can afford you, do so. The rest make do with imitations.
Do not push beyond that, is what I would request and suggest, because I am sure there are enough like me who love the saree, especially yours, but choose to be practical. If this comment was in a bid to increase your clientele, I daresay it might backfire and you may be running the risk of losing the ones who solicit you and the likes of you!
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I am a doctor with an MD in Clinical Microbiology, working at KEM Hospital, Mumbai.
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