Indian women are second to none when it comes to achievement. They have made their mark in male bastions at home and showed the stuff they are made of in the international arena as well. Whatever be the field of endeavour they have chosen, their sense of responsibility, their passion to do things well and in addition the added burden of wanting to prove that women can do anything as good as, if not better than, their male counterparts.
Away from familiar environs where the saree is a habit or garment worn by every other, we present before you some random examples of Indian women and of Indian origin, who have been in the US for some time. They still find it necessary to flaunt their love for the garment, their patriotic feeling for its Indian-ness. They have achieved two things simultaneously – they have given the world and fellow Indians a display of their immense talent in what they do. They have displayed their love for the saree and shown their flair for dressing.
1. Nirupama Rao
An Indian Foreign Service Officer of the 1973 Batch, Nirupama has left her mark as a woman capable of holding her end up in whatever she was assigned and did India proud. Be it as India’s Foreign Secretary from 2009 to 2011, when she became only the second woman after Chokila Iyer to hold the post of Foreign Secretary, the Head of the Indian Foreign Service or being India’s Ambassador to the United States, China and Sri Lanka (High Commissioner), she completed her stint successfully with elan`and distinguishing grace. Her career saw her take upon herself responsibilities such as Minister of Press, Information and Culture in Washington DC, Deputy Chief of Mission in Moscow, important assignments in the MEA as Joint Secretary, East Asia and External Publicity, the latter position making her the first woman spokesperson of the MEA, Chief of Personnel, Ambassador to Peru and China, and High Commissioner to Sri Lanka.
For a distinguished representative of the country, her appearances in the Indian saree was like being a spokesman for the wonderful garment. Tastefully dressed always and sporting a number of varieties of the handloom saree, the effortless ease with which she carried herself in the midst of other distinguished attendees during the numerous functions and important occasions, spoke extraordinarily about the saree’s virtues and her appealing elegance.
The few images that follow should give a hint of what has been said.
See how the exotic Bengal Jamdhani saree with its wonderful embroidered motifs and exquisite floral border exudes carefree brilliance yet suits the occasion as much as its formal western counterpart.
Here is Nirupama Rao when she was India’s foreign secretary, shaking hands with her Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir before a meeting in New Delhi. Her light black Pochampally designer ikat Saree and black blouse contrast nicely with her bright smile that infuses a similar light reaction from the himself dark-suited Salman Bashir.
On February 14, 2013 Ambassador Rao welcomed Congressman Ami Bera, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, and Mike Honda to the Indian Embassy for a reception. See the warmth and splendor of her countenance and the Pattu Silk Saree she is sporting.
Here you find the Indian Foreign Secretary not weighed down by the Entities List issue initiated by the US – but takes it as lightly as the finely woven translucent Chanderi handloom silk saree in white and golden zari ; the characteristic zari booti or motif being very much the eye-catching feature.
The one-time ambassador to US has a taste for choosing the appropriate color and design to merge beautifully with the surroundings. The green and floral georgette saree blends beautifully with the backdrop.
2. Indra Nooyi
A Powerhouse of a woman, this amiable, seemingly soft but focused result-oriented dynamic personality is Indira Nooyi who was one among the earliest of her ilk to enter the tough male dominated of corporate business. Her dynamism and no-nonsense approach has seen her in crucial positions of innovation and strategy at some of the ranked International giants of industry. Currently she is Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo, the second largest food and beverage business in the world by net revenue. Over the years she has maintained a good position in the Forbes’ rankings of the 100 most powerful women in the world. A recent announcement shall also see her as an Independent Female Director for the first time in the International Cricket Council’s History in June 2018.
Indra Krishnamurthy Nooyi looking resplendent and royal in a rich setting and the regal-looking pure silk Kanjivaram handloom saree.
Indra Nooyi Being honored during Childrens Hope fundraiser Gala in NY by Consulate General of India M.Mulay in lovely matching black colored golden bordered handloom silk saree.
Indra Nooyi has been appointed as the new Independent Director of the International Cricket Council (ICC) on Feb.9th, 2018 and will be assuming office later in June this year. Here she is in a casually reflecting mood and a soft handloom printed saree.
3. Renu Khator
What does one say about Renu Khator? She happens to be the eighth Chancellor of the Univeristy of Houston System and the thirteenth President of the University of Houston. The University of Houston System is a state university system in Texas, comprising four separate and distinct universities. It also owns and holds broadcasting licenses to a public television station (KUHT) and a public radio station (KUHF). Fourth largest of university systems in Texas, that has more than 70,000 students in total, Houston is the flagship institution of Texas.
Khator is the first foreign born President of the University and the second woman to hold that position.the University of Houston is a comprehensive doctoral degree-granting research university of 43,000 students that contributes over $3 billion annually to the Texas economy, while generating about 24,000 jobs.
Check out her taste in sarees, that she dons quite regularly and which points to the fact that at heart she is India.
Look at this pucca Indian look in this Georgette – Bagh printed – mirror work
One of the exclusively designed georgette sarees with a lot of mirror work with a similar patterned designer blouse creates a special allure for Renu Khator.
A group photo shows khator and other members posing at the function of 25 years of Arya Samaj, Houston
4. Anita Desai
Indian novelist and emeritus Professor of Humanities at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Anita Desai is better known for her exploits with the pen which had her nominated for the Booker Prize three times. In the course of her journey as a writer she has received the Sahitya Akademi award as well as the British Guardian prize. Born in Mussorie, she studied in Delhi, got married to a software company director Ashwin Desai and then proceeded to the States. One of her daughters Kiran Desai is herself a Booker Prize winning novelist.
Anita Desai loves to wear the saree like any Indian woman. Here we see her in two images sporting the downright
Indian look in handloom printed silk sarees.
Here see the younger Anita Desai in a more vibrant version of Printed Silk. Photos taken around 1991.
5. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak
Who is Gayatri Chakravorty, you ask? She is a 1942 born Indian scholar, literary theorist, feminist critic. University professor at Columbia University, the founder Member of the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society. Considered a formidable literary intellectual she has been awarded the 2012 Kyoto prize in Arts and Philosophy, an annual award for lifetime achievements in the arts and philosophy. She has also received the Padma Bhushan in 2013.
She may be anywhere in the world, but for her, the saree is always the chosen attire.
Check some of her saree avatars.
A very nice handloom printed saree that is both colorful and vibrant, a Sedate and composed Gayatri Chakravorty posing in a normal floral printed silk saree and you see her in a Bengal Jamadhani handloom silk saree with a lovely blouse to match.
There are plenty of women of note of Indian origin in the US who could be sporting the saree on occasions when they would not be in media glare. But one fact remains whatever. They may for reasons best known to them donning western clothing most times, but at heart they still have the thought at the back of the mind – they would love the Indian saree and if possible would wear it at the earliest opportunity, they are proud of their identity of being Indian.
It is the women above who without any reservations display their Indian ethnic clothing and automatically become ambassadors for the wonderful garment that has over time led to the saree becoming international and more widespread.