Saree Politcs

Sunanda Pushkar : IPL and Saree

Sunanda Pushkar : IPL and Saree    saree politcs

I personally know Sashi Tharoor. I have followed his writing and I have admired his sense of humor and I respect him for being a straight shooter and behaving with highest standard of integrity.

So all this controversy about his involvement in IPL-Kochi and his relationship with Sunanda Pushkar seems kind of odd to me.

If you don’t know, this is the controversy. There is a cricket league in India called IPL. It has several teams in it and each team is worth about $500M to $1B – yes the number is correct, and it is in dollars and nor rupees.

Recently the IPL added a couple of new teams and one of them was a team for Kochi (a second tier town in south India)- the area that Sashi Tharoor represents.

Sashi Tharoor helped in whatever way he could to ensure that Kochi gets a team. It is an economic boom to the region to have a team.

Now the opposition is claiming that he should be fired or should resign, because even though he personally did not take any money to helping Kochi, his close friend Sunanda Pushkar got some equity in the company. Sunanda Pushkar is an accomplished business woman and she did help Kochi put the deal together and yes she is a close friend of Sashi Tharoor. The claim is that she was a “proxy” for Sashi Tharoor.

Sunanda Pushkar hates that claim – she says that she has done a lot to help the team and she is nobody’s proxy. And her closeness to Sashi Tharoor is a private matter.

There are rumors about Sashi and Sundana getting married.

It is being speculated that Shashi Tharoor might be tying the knot, a third time, with Sunanda Pushkar, the owner of a spa. The two have often been spotted together in a manner which suggests more than just social or professional alliances. The two were once seen in a marriage party, with the minister draping an arm about the beautician. In fact, Sunanda Pushkar has often been heard to introduce Shashi Tharoor to certain acquaintances as her fiance. However, the matter has not been commented upon by either camp. In fact, Shashi Tharoor has declined to say anything about the issue at all.

So I see how the contoversy can arise.

But I fully support her because I see this as a saree discrimination – just because somebody wears a saree, that person becomes subservient or something. We got to get over that prejudice.

And of course the second reason I support her is because she has good taste in (men and) sarees.


Fatima Bhutto on her book tour

Fatima Bhutto on her book tour    saree politcs

The grand daughter of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the niece of Benazir Bhutto, the daughter of Murtuza Bhutto speaks in the Songs of Blood and Sword a Daughter’s Memoir.

The book tells the story of the Bhuttos, a family of rich feudal landlords who became powerbrokers in the newly created state of Pakistan; the epic of four generations of a family and the political violence that would eventually destroy the family.

Nice to see her in a saree!


Saree Power: celebration after the passage of the bill reserving 33% of the seats in legislature

Saree Power: celebration after the passage of the bill reserving 33% of the seats in legislature    saree politcs

The upper house of India’s Parliament passed a bill Tuesday that would amend the Constitution to reserve one-third of the seats in India’s national and state legislatures for women.

The feminist in me approves of this bill and the constitutional amendment. I am actually saddened that one needs a constitutional amendment for this. There are 51% women, if all was well, there would be 51% lawmakers in Delhi and all other state capitols – 33% is very reasonable.

Rajneeti Poster with Katrina as Indira – Saree Politics and Beyond

Rajneeti Poster with Katrina as Indira   Saree Politics and Beyond    saree politcs bollywood saree

I greatly admired Indira Gandhi. Not that I am condoning the practice, but many people I know, to this day, long for the general civil environment that “Emergency” created. There was fear, but there was also a sense of fair dealing.

The petty corruption at all level was practically wiped out – and I can see how one can romanticize that.

Anyway, I am really looking forward to the images from Rajneeti (god knows I have no patience to watch a hindi movie, unless I have a remote in my hand).


Party Crashers

A saree will get you in anywhere it seems. A recent state dinner at the White House in honor of PM Monmohan Singh and his wife received a pair of unexpected guests. Washington D.C. socialites Tareq and Michaele Salahi thought it would be fun to try and sneak into the state dinner and it worked. Though they had no invitation and weren’t on any guest lists, they managed to make their way through security. Maybe it her chic lahenga saree and his snazzy tux that made security think they were guests? They weren’t even discovered as party crashers until they bragged about getting in to the party online.

Party Crashers    saree politcs miscelleneous


Sonia Gandhi: An Inspiration

As a foreigner living in Kolkata, I sometimes find it hard to get by. Though I’m comfortable with the material things Sonia Gandhi: An Inspiration    saree politcs  I have here like my apartment, food, clothing, and so on, I am often hit by a sense of outsiderness. I doubt that is a word but the meaning is clear. A foreigner can never become Indian, so to say. My future lies in this country and with these people though, and as such, I feel a deep desire to “fit in”. I wear Indian clothing everyday (salwar kameez or sarees for special occasions), I eat with my hand as is the Indian way, and I’ve been studying Bengali for over a year so I can communicate with a certain level of ease. Regardless of these attempts to integrate into Indian society, I still get looks from passersby and strangers coming up to me to say “welcome to India”. What a stressful and discouraging process this is.

When I doubt my ability to one day be accepted as part of this society I look for role models who I can relate to on some level. Sonia Gandhi, India’s Italian-born Congress Party President, is one woman whose history and influence has truly inspired me. Knowing that she has come so far in a society that is not her own gives me hope. Now, as I am told, Indian’s think of her as one of their own, not as an outsider. Perhaps there is hope for me yet!

I admire her character as well as her style. She is one very powerful woman yet shows no signs of placing her importance on a pedestal. Her wardrobe too shows her conservative and humble nature. Sonia almost always makes public appearances in a saree; simple, cotton, nothing glamorous, the kind of saree women wear daily on the streets in India. Granted, she is a widow and in India widow’s tend to wear plainer sarees, but I think her choice of saree is also a social statement.

Sonia Gandhi: An Inspiration    saree politcs

After all, who says a saree has to be extravagant to be beautiful? In my opinion, it is the way a woman wears the saree and the history behind it that makes it beautiful. I’d like to do more posts on the average Indian woman’s saree style and women’s everyday fashion to share with you what India is like in my eyes, the eyes of an American living in Kolkata. …I just need to find some time to hit the streets with my camera.



Sonia Gandhi: An Inspiration    saree politcs