Six yards across the border
Call it a sign of the times or a desire to expand the wardrobe, but Pakistani women, especially those belonging to the urban elite, are donning the sari and being seen in it.india Updated:
Distance, said someone rather smart, makes you appreciate things for what they are. Thus, the fondness for Jerry Lewis in France, the wonderment towards Indian spirituality in California, the hankering for McDonald’s khana at Bhatinda... and the new demand for the sari in Pakistan.
Granted, the distance between Punjab and the Punjab is not so great. But considering that the six-yard of feminine cloth has been associated with India, a country that hasn’t had the best of relations — sartorial or otherwise — with Pakistan, the ‘alien dress’ was made to sleep with the mothballs in the Islamic Republic since the Eighties. Call it a sign of the times or a desire to expand the wardrobe, but Pakistani women, especially those belonging to the urban elite, are donning the sari and being seen in it. Pakistani dictator Zia-ul-Haq may have loved his photo-ops with the perennially sari-clad Indira Gandhi, but it was his doing that led to the ‘apparel’ being folded up in that country. Now it seems that under another dictator, the sari has shaken off its ‘vulgar’, ‘revealing’ reputation among the Pakistani cognoscenti. Which doesn’t, of course, mean that Pakistani women are trading their salwar kameezs for saris. The latter is being seen as the right thing to wear during formal occasions and glitzy events.
One wonders whether better relations between the two countries will lead to the sari becoming more fashionable among the young Indian elite. Or will our air-kissers hold back until a Beyonce or a Madonna dons the beautiful cloth?