Don't Politicise The Saree, Twitter Seethes After New York Times Article

Many have criticised the newspaper for publishing an article they call poorly researched and ill-informed

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Don't Politicise The Saree, Twitter Seethes After New York Times Article

The story, titled "In India, Fashion Has Become a Nationalist Cause," was published in the Style section

New Delhi:  An article published in the New York Times has angered many on social media, who say its premise -- that ever since Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in 2014 "the Indian fashion industry has been pressed to aggressively promote traditional attire and bypass Western styles" -- is baseless. Since the article was published three days ago, journalists, academics and commentators across the political spectrum have tweeted calling it "ridiculous".

The article, titled "In India, Fashion Has Become a Nationalist Cause," was published in the paper's Style section. In the article, Asgar Qadri claims: "Since the Bharatiya Janata Party formed a national government in 2014, the Indian fashion industry has been pressed to aggressively promote traditional attire and bypass Western styles. The effort aligns with the party's broader political program: to project multi-faith India, a country of more than 1.3 billion, as a Hindu nation."

Trying to prove this claim, Mr Qadri travels to Varanasi, PM Modi's political constituency, to meet with the weavers of the famous Banarasi sarees. Sarees, Mr Qadri writes, "known for its fine silk and opulent embroidery - and primarily worn by Hindu women." That last statement has been vehemently opposed by many online.

In the article, Mr Qadri says while PM Modi's call to revive Banarasi sarees has benefitted merchants , weavers are yet to see any of the pay-offs.

The New York Times article has been met with scathing criticism on Twitter.

Many have criticised the newspaper for publishing an article they call poorly researched and ill-informed:
 
Tanvi Madan, director of The India Project, tweeted that the article unnecessarily communalises sarees:
Sanjeev Sanyal, the Principal Economic Adviser in the Finance Ministry, tweeted that the article is a "sickening attack on our way of life."
Many pointed out that sarees are not worn by Hindu women alone:
Foreign policy commentator Alyssa Ayres tweets politicians of "all stripes" wear traditional clothing:
Pakistani columnist Mehr Tarar adds she has worn sarees her entire adult life:
Author Rashmi Bansal writes, however, that the one thing the article succeeds in doing is highlighting the plight of weavers in India:
This isn't the first time an article published in the New York Times has angered Indians. In 2014, the newspaper was forced to apologise after publishing a cartoon on the Mangalyaan Mars Mission following complaints that it mocked India.
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