Attended by Jaya Jaitley, Olympian Karnam Malleswari, Shalini Passi and Alka Rani Singh, “The Great Saree Connection” was a session focused on the rich cultural heritage of Indian sarees. Jaya Jaitely, politician, activist and president of Dastakaari Haat Samiti, said, “I am an avid saree wearer and saree for me is my cultural identity. It connects me to weavers and I work with them closely, as a part of my lifelong commitment to value the Indian arts.” Speaking on the youth moving on to “fast-fashion”, she said, “I don’t know how young girls do not know how to wear a saree. Their mothers don’t teach them that these days and this is very sad.”

Olympian Karnam Malleswari, who has won accolades for India in weightlifting, gave an insight into her early years and said, “I only wear sarees and my practice clothes. The village where I come from, Chirala, is a small village in Andhra Pradesh. The weavers in Andhra are in very poor and impoverished conditions. It takes them almost 20-23 days to make a saree that is sold so cheap. I wear handloom to promote the sale and raise awareness. “

Revivalist Alka Rani Singh, Rajkumari of Pratapgarh, Awadh, was also a part of the panel. She, along with her eldest daughter, Yashodhra Singh Rana, has been trying to revive the crafts, beauty and culinary tradition of the Awadh royalty. Speaking about brush art, she said, “I was very inspired by kites, their bright colours and patterns, so I used that inspiration to pain my sarees. I wish to revive the brush art in Benares and Lucknow.”

 

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