In a bid to celebrate the Saree, a garment traditionally worn in India, Bangladesh and Nepal, Gayatri Chopali and Ramani Nathan, two Indian women living in Rwanda organized an event that was dubbed “Saree Speak” on Saturday 30th, November, 2019.
The Saree is a single piece of unstitched fabric that measures between six to nine meters. It is worn by draping it over yourself. It has a decorative end piece known as ‘Pallu’. There are more than eighty ways to drape the Saree. It is worn with an upper garment called the ‘Choli’, Underneath the Saree, one wears a petticoat very similar to the one worn underneath the Rwandan traditional attire ‘Umushanana’ that is tied tightly at the waist.
Gayatri Chopali, the main event organizer and anchor of the event says the Saree is a garment that was passed down through generations and that ‘Saree Speak’ is a beautiful way to take the Indian culture to the rest of the world. “The Saree offers elegance and comfort and in the modern world, it continues to be an economical and easy-to-wear garment, suitable for work, leisure and luxury. “We have also dressed all our guests in Sarees just to show how inclusive the Indian culture is and for acquainting them with the Indian culture.”
She added that the event was organized in the spirit of creating a space for fun and discussion for Indian and South Asian women living in Rwanda and remove the barriers of age and nationalities.
Despite the shift in textile and garment aesthetics, the Saree remains entrenched in the South Asian culture and makes a sizable portion of the hand loom and embroidery sector in India. The diversity of the Indian culture is not only rooted in traditional garments but also in dance, one of the greatest visual icons in India. During the ceremony, some of the guests delighted the audience with individual and group performances adding beauty to the event. The dances were performed on the narrative chanting and the music created by Indian classical instruments followed by icebreaking sessions where guests got to know each other and a fashion show where guests modeled different styles of the Saree.
The ceremony was closed with gift donations where every participant received vouchers from the sponsors.