A couple of days back, one of India’s leading designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee made a statement that irked many. He said, “I think, if you tell me that you do not know how to wear a saree, I would say shame on you”. He said this while addressing at the Harvard India Conference and brought in a variety of thoughts over the question on saree. Also, he mentioned that there is some sort of social insecurity among people when they wear a saree and that people are forgetting their roots. Further, he insisted people stick to their roots and embrace the saree, which according to him is one of the most beautiful outfits. While we do understand his concerns, there is a different question to be asked.
Do women or young girls really hesitate to wear a saree?
The general perception after the coming of the ‘Global village’ phenomenon is that the entire population has embraced the western culture. People have lost connection with their roots and rich culture. That’s not true. A lot of the so-called ‘sanskaris’ condemn all the western practices that this generation has accepted. While there is definitely a shift to preferring western clothes quite often, it does not necessarily mean that people hesitate to wear their rooted clothes. Look around carefully, without having presumptions. One is bound to notice that women are excited about wearing sarees or traditional clothes. Many might not prefer it on a regular basis due to the factor of comfortability.
While there is definitely a shift to preferring western clothes quite often, it does not necessarily mean that people hesitate to wear their rooted clothes.
Paridhi Bhanot, pursuing Journalism from Lady Shri Ram College for Women, accepts that there is a preference towards western clothes, but that necessarily does not mean one hesitates to wear traditional clothes. She says, “The generation I belong to are super excited when it comes to wearing a saree. Be it teacher’s day or farewell during school, every single person is excited to wear a saree. Even during college days, students look forward to wearing sarees during events and various occasions. While many might not know how to tie a saree, it does not mean they are not excited about it.”
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Why is the skill of tying a saree too important?
The statement given by Sabyasachi received flak due to the emphasis placed on the shame factor. Not all men know how to tie a tie. Not all men know how to drape a ‘Veshti’ in the Southern parts of the country. Young girls don’t necessarily have to know it during their school days. Paridhi adds, “It is true that most of them might not know how to tie a saree but this has been the case in every generation. I’m pretty sure my mom did not know how to tie a saree when she was 17-18 years old. Tying a saree is a skill. Something similar to swimming. Once you learn it, you will get it. Women are not born with the skill of tying a saree. It’s a conscious step that one needs to take and there is nothing shameful about not knowing how to tie a saree.”
Tying a saree is a skill. Something similar to swimming. Once you learn it, you will get it. Women are not born with the skill of tying a saree.
It is not necessary for women to know how to tie a saree during the teenage time. It’s not a compulsion, it depends on one’s likes and dislikes, interest and non-interest and ability and agility to master the skill. This generation might not prefer wearing sarees due to various personal factors. Not all men wear traditional attire every day. The very generalization is uncalled for. There are many who might have learnt the skill in their teenage period while many after crossing 30. Many might, in fact, prefer wearing a saree every day while some might enjoy it occasionally. These are individual decisions and we should let it be.
Also Read: We Do Not Buy Sarees According to Our Caste or Religion
Reshma Ganeshbabu is an intern with SheThePeople.TV