Posted in Sarees and Textiles
As the month of August comes to a closure, Angadi Galleria honours the valiant, woman freedom fighters who have defied stereotypes and have impressed the generations to come. Their sacrifices and will towards India’s freedom from British Raj has proved their inner strength breaking apprehensions towards valour titled synonymous to men.
Madam Bhikhaiji Cama
Despite being born on Indian soil to well-known Parsi parents, Madam Bhikhaiji Cama joined the ‘nationalist´movement far away from home: first in London, impressed by the work of many Indian nationalists living in London at the time, then in Paris, co-founding the Paris Indian society. She took up social activism and fought fiercely for gender equality thousands of miles away from home, with visions of a better India for us all.
Decked in simplistic sarees, Cama would drape her saree using the seedha palla style. Pulling the pallu over her head, with the front hanging loose, the saree portrayed a certain degree of humility and seriousness that, when paired with a lack of accessory or ornament, allowed Cma to act for the greater good.
Although known often as the wife of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Kamala Nehru was a strong-willed freedom fighter in her own right. Know largely for her success in organizing women’s groups and uniting them in their collective fight for freedom, she was the strength of her whole family and the nation, by and large, taking on a certain sophistication that proved to be a wonderful impetus in India’s Independence movement.
Kamala Nehru dressed as she acts: smart and cultured, she often dressed in cotton sarees which were usually plain with typical handloom borders. Her blouses were mostly full-sleeve during her role as a freedom fighter. Interestingly she is found wearing sleeveless blouses during certain occasions with family. Accessorizing only with a simple bindi. her dressing sense matched her husband’s and together, they represented an elegant future ahead.
Kasturbha Gandhi was the epitome of silent strength. With unwavering loyalty to her husband and the Independence movement that he propagated with so much vigor, she became a political activist, fighting fiercely for civil rights and often taking the Mahatma’s place during his periods of arrest. She helped educate the illiterate, teaching them about hygiene and safety in hopes of improving the nation.
As much as Mahatma Gandhi is known for his spinning wheel, Kasturbha was the queen of the handloom, wearing khadi cotton with minimal to no accessories. Humble and soft-spoken, she displayed the true meaning of inner strength.
Before there was Lata Mangeshkar and KS Chitra, there was Sarojini Naidu, the original Nightingale of India. She was the ultimate trendsetter and the consummate professional. A celebrated woman of firsts, she made history once again as the first woman to become governor of an Indian state and first Indian woman to become president of the Indian National Congress. Her arrest during the Quit India movement, though, garnered immense public attention to the independence movement, putting British rule in India in question.
A poet and dramatic artist, Sarojini Naidu was known for her stylistic approach to many things, including her clothing choices. During her appearances in politics, she often employed the nivi style of saree draping, often used in traditional settings. However, she wore many colored saris with simple yet intricate designs and despite her involvement in the Independence movement, chose to opt for materials other than khadi .
Indian history has witnessed women with exceptional patriotism, bravery, and vision who have shared shoulders and duties with men which are a quite significant act of their times. Their contribution towards the freedom struggle, however, big or small, still serve as an inspiration to many. As India steps into its70th year of independence, we salute our freedom fighters, Jai Hind.