Reason Writers Around Town: Shikha Dalmia on Globalization and Indian Culture

For the high priests of Indian culture, the worry about globalization is not that it will breed sweatshops or child labor. It is that it will drive the sari, the gorgeous six-yards of fabric that Indian women have been wearing for the last 4,000 years, the way of the dodo, or, rather, the kimono. But as Reason Foundation Senior Analyst Shikha Dalmia points out in her latest Forbes column, this worry is misplaced. The sari is a versatile garment that has benefited from globalization:

Globalization is certainly giving Indian women options outside the sari, forcing it to share wardrobe space with cocktail dresses, evening gowns and corporate pant-suits. But it is also giving them more options within the sari. [The new saris] represent a cross-pollination of ideas, a blending of traditional and Western elements, that wouldn’t be possible without globalization. The biggest transformation is the cocktailization of the blouses worn beneath the sari that are becoming skimpier and bolder—driving traditionalists crazy. But the saris themselves are experimenting with all kinds of new fabrics and designs, sometimes with absolutely stunning results.

Read all about it here.

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  • ||

    Let's see how this fashion article does against the circumcision article in comment count.

  • Brian Sorgatz||

    This post deserves more comments. Dalmia's article is a much more enjoyable read than that piece of (uncharacteristic) hack work by Moynihan.

  • ||

    There is a large Indo-Canadian community and the sari is not only accepted, it is being worn by many European-descended women as well.

    It can be stunningly attractive when worn properly.

  • Warty||

    It can be stunningly attractive when worn properly.

    I mostly see saris on middle-aged Indian women. Tip: saris do an extremely poor job of concealing the fat rolls on one's back.

  • ||

    And shorts or tight slacks are SO attractive on overweight people.

  • sounds real good||

    So what? They aren't intended to conceal. I would far rather see a woman with a normal, middle-aged body wearing a sari than squeezed into too-tight clothing, or even ugly mom jeans with an elastic waistband and a t-shirt.

  • Warty||

    Also, I didn't realize you were a filthy Canadian, Aresen. Do we have even more Canadians than Pittsburghers on here?

  • ||

    I find it troubling that you do not know this.

  • ||

    "filthy Canadian"

    I resent that characterization. I bath at least once a week. (Unless I forget after cleaning the stable.)

  • ||

    To be clear, my "this" referred to the noun, not the adjective. Canadians have running water and stuff. I know, I was there during my days in the Peace Corps.

  • ||

    I always thought they were gorgeous, and waited for the coveted invitation to a big, lavish Indian wedding to look into getting one. At least in Vancouver, the fabric was insanely expensive. Venturing to the Punjabi markets in South Van is never a wasted trip, however, as cheap & delicious samosas abound.

  • ||

    That's the thing about saris. It's all about the fabric.

    A really great sari will have some intricate print threaded with gold on it. You're just draping it around yourself to show off the beauty of the fabric itself.

  • Jeffersonian||

    Is that the dodo bird or the do-do on the carpet?

  • ||

    its the doo doo in the vibes. (atlanta rhythm section)

  • AlmightyJB||

    Indian chicks are hot.

  • Barack Obama||

    If people without jobs were induced into national service, our unemployment rate problems would be solved.

  • sounds real good||

    Saris are gorgeous. Indians, besides being the most beautiful people on earth, also have the most flattering (and comfortable!) traditional dress for women. If I could wear saris without looking like a silly Caucasian in Indian drag, I would.

  • ||

    This is a silly fear.

    Indian-American women wear saris on formal occasions and wear non-sari clothing that is still distinctly Indian the rest of the time. There are some really beautiful tops and pants in silk prints that you can get at indian clothing shops. Just because it doesn't have 20 folds doesn't mean it isn't obviously a product of Indian culture.

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