Friday July 19, 2019

The Saree Man of India: Himanshu Verma breaks all Stereotypes to show Gender Fluidity of Saree

The Delhi-based Himanshu has a curious love for Saree since he did his curatory on the subject

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saree-man
the Delhiwaala Himanshu at a shoot Source: ibb.in
  • Saree-Man of India,Himanshu Verma is wearing sarees for last 12 years
  • He defines saree as a “megalomaniacal gesture” at his part
  • He celebrates “Saree festival” every year to show saree is Gender-fluid

India is one of those countries that has defined masculine and feminine roles. When it comes to the attires the men and women must wear, it is not only a matter of having a piece of cloth. The particular clothing is seen as a marker of culture and tradition of the place.

When it comes to Saree, one of the Hindi words that have never found a translation in any other language, a similar kind of definition is associated.

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Saree is a female garment about five to nine yards long which not only depicts the culture but is a symbol of feminine peculiarities. From the house-maker women to the celebrities in the glamour world, wearing it marks poise and elegance. However, a very strange yet fascinating man discards all the notions of femininity associated to the wearing of saree. He is known well as the “Saree-Man” of India.

See the video of Himanshu, the Saree-Man

According to Vagabomb.com report, Himanshu, the Saree-man, describes the practice “as a gesture of re-appropriating the saree as a male garment and highlighting the historical tradition where it was all about the fluidity of the drape and not about the structure that was gender specific.” He also describes it as a “megalomaniacal gesture” at his part on being asked about the title people associate with him.

Himanshu Verma. Image source:Vagabomb
Himanshu Verma. Image source:Vagabomb

He began to undergo this practice while he was working on the subject some years ago and defines the garment very specifically as: “The saree as we know today is actually just 150 years old, and it is what is called the Thakurbari drape or the drape pioneered by the Tagore ladies. It is also associated with the Parsi Bombay ladies. Before that, the saree was worn in so many ways and the men would also wear dhotis and sarees, and in many parts of India the two terms are interchangeable. So I think saree is a generic term and it is not a garment for women specifically.”

His own taste in Saree is interesting to note as he asserts: “When I started wearing sarees I used to wear what I call the chamiya sarees… the blingy ones, the slinky ones… but as I am growing older with more grey hair, I am wearing the softer ones, handloom ones,” said the Vagabomb.com report.

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In addition to this love for saree he has, that he wears Saree on a regular basis for last 12 years, he is the one who celebrates it with recognizing it in the annual Saree Festival with all its types from the traditional to the contemporary.

-prepared by Megha, a freelance contributor at NewsGram. Twitter: @meghash06510344

ALSO READ: 

 

  • Vrushali Mahajan

    Saree is no doubt one of the soberest form of culture on display. It unifies all Indian women and now as Himanshu says, it is gender-fluid!

  • devika todi

    gender fluidity at its best!

Next Story

Woman Who Coated Cow Dung on Car Uses Horse-Cart for Short Distances

Caring for the environment and employing various ways to conserve and protect it for the future generations is not really a modern approach

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Woman, Cow Dung, Horse- Cart
Her green initiatives are not to demonstrate to the world that she cares. Pixabay

Just as you enter the iron gates of ‘Abhang Dwar’ (invincible gate), a horse-cart welcomes you. Look around and there are vintage wooden ghunghroo bells, bamboo chairs, old-world charm wooden benches. And between all this, stands a proud Toyota Corolla Altis painted all over by cow dung, competing with a powerful air-conditioner inside.

World Environment Day went past on Wednesday and could come again for others to do something green, but for the khadi-clad Sejal Shah all days and nights are spent virtually in the lap of nature. Including her cow dung plastered car.

“Albeit it can’t be the same as an AC, but the layers of cow dung all over prove to be an effective coolant,” explains Shah, 45-something, about her unique car.

Again, for her, this idea is only a logical continuum of her entire home artistically plastered by cow dung as found in the villages. Her car was painted by two village women and it gives an out-of-the-world look. Sitting inside instantly gives that cooling effect in a scorching summer.

Woman, Cow Dung, Horse- Cart
 The layers of cow dung all over prove to be an effective coolant. Pixabay

But Shah needs the car only for long distances, otherwise she struts around everywhere around on her classic horse-cart.

“Caring for the environment and employing various ways to conserve and protect it for the future generations is not really a modern approach. It is the very way our ancestors have lived,” Shah tells IANS.

She moved to Ahmedabad seven years ago from Mumbai along with her diamond merchant husband after he retired to live in the peace of her eco-friendly home. Her green initiatives are not to demonstrate to the world that she cares. Shah does it since it comes naturally to her.

This is how she explains what she is up to: “The collective efforts put together by every single person who believes in sustainable development of our resources can only make the world a better place for the future, before the damage gets permanently irreversible.”

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She goes on: “Small contributions from every individual like avoiding plastics, or providing waste water to the ground instead of letting it go in the sewage and use of chemicals as minimum as possible, will contribute to the large cause of saving the Earth which has provided resources for everybody’s need which is being wasted for human greed.”

She practices what she preaches in every sense. Right from her eco-friendly clothes to bronze and copper vessels she uses. The earthen ‘chulha’ in the kitchen at the backyard is also in an open space like typical Indian rural kitchens.

“India needs a cultural shift and mindset which takes us back to a value system given to us by our forefathers to look upon nature as a source to nurture, not an object to consume or conquest,” Shah declares.

“Just like joint families where everyone chips in equally for everything, the Indian culture believed in sharing a symbiotic relationship with the nature,” Shah says.

Woman, Cow Dung, Horse- Cart
Shah needs the car only for long distances, otherwise she struts around everywhere around on her classic horse-cart. Pixabay

As Ahmedabad burns at 45-plus degrees Celsius of dry heat, Shah looks cool. Not only her khadi clothes, everything she does is green, like using natural alternatives of soap, shampoo and talcum powder. She suggests shankh-pushpi powder or multani mitti and neem for skin care as well as for brushing teeth.

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“If used on a daily basis, all these natural elements with Ayurvedic properties, instead of products with chemicals, surely give much, much better results. And also for longevity,” strongly believes Shah. (IANS)