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Saree – A Unifying feature of India

The word saree originated from a Sanskrit word ‘Sati’ which means a strip of cloth and the word. ‘Sattika’ is mentioned in the early Buddhist literature.

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By Akanksha Sharma

Saree is one of the unifying features of India. The image of Indira Gandhi, the late Prime Minister of India dressed in starched white saree serving as a powerful leader in a male dominating society is very popularly known around the world. On the contrary, the picture of a woman from a weaker section of society, thin, poor and wearing a dirty, stained saree and carrying an undernourished child whose legs are wrapped around her waist is also a familiar image. These two images represent a very different culture and background. But, they share a very common cultural feature of India ,i.e., Saree. Saree is usually a long unstitched piece of cloth, generally is 6 yard long. It is paired with a blouse that covers the upper part of the body and underneath it, a petticoat is worn for tucking in the pleats of saree and to hold the saree in place. The draping style is different in different states of India: It comes in different fabrics, colours, and designs.

Origin of Saree

Saree worn during Indus Valley Civilization- Wikimedia commons
Saree worn during Indus Valley Civilization– Wikimedia commons

It is one of the oldest civilisation of India. In the history, the evidence is found that a long piece of unstitched cloth was used to be worn to cover themselves. The word saree originated from a Sanskrit word ‘Sati’ which means a strip of cloth and the word ‘Sattika’ is mentioned in the early Buddhist literature. Later the word was evolved into the word ‘saree’. A statue of a female has been recovered from the Indus Valley civilization, draped in saree. Earlier, Saree used to be worn in a manner so, that it divides the two legs, forming a trouser like look. This style was popular among the temple dancers to aid them in their movements. The early statues of Goddesses depicted that saree was worn in a ‘fishtail’ which was tied at the waist, and covered up the legs. During that era, the upper part was also covered with the saree. Later with the arrival of Muslims ghagra and the petticoat was discovered and clothes were stitched. And later blouse was discovered. Since then, saree has evolved lot.

Styles of draping saree

According to the researchers, there are more than 80 ways to wear a saree. However, the most popular and favoured style is Nivi style. This style originates from Andhra Pradesh, Nivi drape starts with one end of the sari tucked into the petticoat then the cloth is wrapped around the lower body once, and the loose end is draped over the shoulder called pallu and the rest of the cloth are divided into pleats and tucked into the waistband of the petticoat under the navel.

 

Nivi style of wearing Saree- Wikimedia commons
Nivi style of wearing Saree– Wikimedia commons
Maharashtrian Saree- Wikimedia commons
Maharashtrian Saree– Wikimedia commons

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Orissa, It is worn without pleats and is wrapped around the lower body in anti- clockwise direction and the pallu is wrapped around the body over the left shoulder. In Kerala, a two-piece saree having a decorative golden coloured border is popular. Among Maharashtrians, the draping style is similar to male Maharashtrians dhoti, and forms a trouser like attire. There are more ways to wear is differently and each state has its own traditional style of draping saree.

In Modern era, it is also worn professionally. The dress code of air hostesses on Air India flights is also saree. Many Politicians wear saree as it being traditional clothing and it also covers their modesty. Saree is also the wedding attire of women. And it is paired with a lot of old jewellery during a wedding. Instead of that, a lehenga is also worn by women. During festivals and different occasions, mostly people prefer wearing saree to give a more traditional look.

Saree is not only famous in India, but also popular among women of Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nepal. In Bangladesh, it is the national wear of women. Most married women wear it as a regular dress or wear it occasionally. Manipuri saree is the most popular saree among Bangladeshi women.

Nepali woman wearing Saree- Wikimedia commons
Nepali woman wearing Saree– Wikimedia commons

In Pakistan, Saree is worn by Pakistani Hindus and is commonly worn in metropolitan cities during important occasions and also wear it formerly. In Sri Lanka and Nepal, saree is worn both professionally and as a daily-wear. It is one of the cultural symbols that unites us together, even after having a very diverse culture. It enhances the beauty of women and also adds to their modesty. After all it the most sensuous, glamorous and an all-time wear for women.

Akanksha Sharma is a student of Journalism in New Delhi. She currently works as an intern in Newsgram. Twitter @meganme456

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  • Shubhi Mangla

    Saree is truly the best among all Indian attires!

  • Pashchiema Bhatia

    And also the most known and unique Indian attire

  • Vrushali Mahajan

    It reflects our culture and how attached we are to it!

Next Story

Star ICC Asks Anonymous Accuser Of Sexual Assault Charges To Step Forward

The accuser said that while she was at the company, there were "clear instructions" given to make the sales team fulfil the targets.

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Star ICC
#MeToo: Star India internal panel writes to anonymous accuser to come forward

The Internal Complaints Committee of Star India on Sexual Harassment (Star ICC) has written to the anonymous accuser — who had alleged “sexual exploitation” of women employees — asking her to reach out to the committee or its external member on allegations made by her in tweets.

In a Twitter post on Friday, Star ICC, formed under the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 said it had reached out to the accuser through two emails on the ID provided by her through her tweets. The committee’s external member is Veena Gowda, a Mumbai-based woman rights lawyer.

The accuser, who tweeted through handle @ApurvaS17 — saying she would remain anonymous — had made sexual harassment allegations against the company’s officials in an open letter.

Star ICC
Star believes that the allegations made in the tweet without the complainant coming forward and giving any further detail, is a malicious attempt.

Asked to comment on the allegations, a Star India spokesperson said in a statement that despite no response by the anonymous accuser to the messages sent, the Star ICC had “suo moto conducted a preliminary inquiry and found no basis or factual accuracy” in respect of the allegations.

“We strongly urge any genuine complainant to approach the Star ICC. At Star, we stand with women in drawing the line on any behaviour that violates human dignity or the ability for women to pursue their dreams with respect and freedom. We have a zero-tolerance policy towards sexual harassment,” read the statement in response to an email query by IANS.

It also said that the anonymous tweet shared on October 13 raised an allegation that “runs completely counter to everything we believe in and the norms and values that we deeply embrace.”

The statement further said: “Star believes that the allegations made in the tweet without the complainant coming forward and giving any further detail, is a malicious attempt to malign and defame the reputation of the company and the CEO.” It said that Star reserves its right to initiate appropriate legal proceedings in this regard.

Star ICC
The Star ICC had “suo moto conducted a preliminary inquiry and found no basis or factual accuracy.

The accuser in her tweets had said that the #MeToo movement had encouraged her to come forward and that she had quit her job at Star India in the Airtime Sales section after 26 months and nine days and was now a homemaker, “taking care of my baby and hubby in a beautiful country, far away from Mumbai.”

The accuser said that while she was at the company, there were “clear instructions” given to make the sales team fulfil the targets in case they want to continue with their employment contract, “for which even if you have to take the clients to a hotel room and sleep with them for days.”

She said there were many instances when she and three of her female colleagues (interns) had clear instructions to reach a hotel after office hours for a private party hosted for influential friends.

Also Read: India’s Junior Foreign Minister M.J. Akbar Quits Following #MeToo Harassment Allegation By Women

She says the influential friends were “mostly bureaucrats and sometimes politicians and foreign nationals” who were “all ready to violate you, force you to dance against your wishes, drink with them, make drink(s) for them, exchange your numbers and even quietly accompany them to their respective rooms if they want you to”.

Veteran writer-director Vinta Nanda, who earlier this month accused actor Alok Nath of sexually violating her 19 years ago, wrote on Twitter: “I’m neither shocked nor surprised. I salute your courage to have come out and spoken out. The rot runs deep.” (IANS)