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Born on 19 November 1917, Indira Gandhi is the only female Prime Minister that India has had so far and not just that, she was also the second longest-serving Prime Minister. During her course as the Prime Minister of the country after her father Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru passed away, the lady took the reigns in a true dynastic way, as Tara Rao, Executive Director at Our Ground Works, recalled at The Working Women: The Saree Recast session at 45 years celebration of Vimor.
She also added, "Then there was garibi hatao and other such things - there were so many narratives emerging out of this woman and then there was so much about how she looked. There were so many angles and dimensions to the way she was also building herself up as an image of who she was, you know whether she was in Moscow, she would be in her sari with a cap on her head, and a long coat." Yes, Indira Gandhi was a sari connoisseur and it's hard to imagine her in any other outfit. Draped in her khadi or Sambalpuri sari, she was at the epicentre of politics, a woman calling the shots, and she wore saris that everyday women could identify with. On a few special occasions, Indira Gandhi would also drape Benarasi silk saris. However, the important point is how she popularised saris and made this unrestrained and fluid garment, an aspirational outfit for working women. Indira Gandhi was a strong personality and someone who was unafraid to speak her mind, and with impeccably-tied saris, she looked distinctive as well. Now, this was something that liberated women found so appealing and immediately took to saris.
But also something worth noticing about Indira Gandhi was that she hardly draped those embellished saris. There was a great level of simplicity to her saris. Yes, she experimented with a lot of hues but her saris were mostly strarched, crisp, and understated. Her saris were as straightforward and impactful as she. With her layered handloom saris, she broadened the definition of power. On Indira Gandhi's birthday, we celebrate the former late Prime Minister as a woman, who redefined saris and changed the perception of independent women around saris.