The Independent

People react angrily to a video depicting the difficulties of wearing a sari to work

By Boshika Gupta

In India, the sari is revered by many women who wear it on festive occasions, on their wedding days, on a regular day, in a business meeting or even on a holiday. It’s an elegant piece of clothing that flatters the female figure, usually meant to be wrapped around the waist and draped over one shoulder.  It’s not restrictive and can be worn in different ways, allowing women to express themselves and their individual styles freely.  It’s almost a rite of passage for many young girls in the cities, who choose to don it at their farewell parties, looking forward to new beginnings after high school.

A video that was posted last week by India Today, however, begs to differ. It chose to focus on the difficulties associated with wearing a sari to work, ruffling many feathers and making Twitter users lash out.  This is because many people take pride in the sari and the symbolism associated with it. It holds sentimental value for individuals who grew up watching their mothers and grandmothers strut gracefully in their saris on a special occasion like Diwali, preparing delicious food and looking absolutely stunning throughout.

This garment finds a place of pride in many hearts and closets, being carefully packed into a suitcase and shipped off to a location faraway as an optimistic student goes off to college abroad. It’s the kind of outfit that immediately gets compliments from loved ones and is powerful for making so many people feel what they feel and everything they associate with it. To post a quirky video in a casual manner that mocks the garment to get attention or views is a silly move. Doing something like this is disrespectful since it hits back at inspiring women who get through their days proudly in the outfit they’re most comfortable in, never batting an eyelid or showing signs of discomfort. The video becomes rather misleading and deviates from reality which is replete with plenty of examples of women who accomplish gruelling tasks in a sari every day, never pausing or holding back.

Consider this: Indian Supermodel Milind Soman’s 78-year-old mother ran a marathon barefoot – in a sari. Soman went ahead and even launched a sari designed for women to run comfortably in as a part of his athleisure collection earlier this month.

It’s also important to note that the sari goes back, way back in time. The first known depiction of this garment, in fact, has been traced back to 100 BC.  Cave murals have represented women proudly wearing full body saris. Stories and folklore often involve the sari and experts reckon that the earliest texts that mentioned it are 5000 years old.

To mess with something like this isn’t a good idea at all and is bound to irk people who swear by this piece of clothing and associate so many things with it. It’s a regressive move and is best avoided in a world that should be free and empowering, allowing women to wear what they want wherever they are and celebrating the differences in our outfits.