April 18, 2017

#MoreIndianThanYouThink In India and Beyond

Our Indianness lies in our culture- our food, dress, festivals, music, dances, architecture, literature and lots more, apart from one most important thing- our behaviour. The way we embrace every other culture into ours, the way we mix and gel with people from the world over. No wonder our Indians are spread out across the world.

Our adaptability and hardiness anywhere in the world stands us in good stead. We make people our friends and any country our home, while we give the best of hospitality to every foreigner who comes to our country. India is the great land of "Atithi Devo Bhava"- the Guest is our God.

In the quest to grow our about-to-turn-two startup Utkalamrita, we have had ample such experiences with people from the world over- both when we visited various countries, and when people from many countries interacted with us- physically or by virtual means.

Sydney Royal Easter Show- 2016, Sydney, Australia

 Our #Odisha #crafts and #weaves have attracted people in every international and national fair that we have participated in.

Chinese New Year Shopping Festival- 2016, Chengdu, China

Even on social media, these unique #Odisha #weaves and #handmades have garnered their own set of followers.

I want to draw your attention to one particular most graceful US citizen called Stacy Jacobs. When Indian women in India and elsewhere are abhorring to drape a saree, here is a lady who has perfected the art of saree wearing by watching youtube and by practising for hours herself. She has become so good at it that after she recently ordered some of our gorgeous #OdishaWeaves, she has actually so far presented three different styles of draping one of them in three different posts- our masterpiece #dongria #tribal saree!


Today's #protestsaree sound bite comes from far, far away Odisha; a state on the eastern edge of India and the home of @utkalamrita This classic pure cotton Dongria tribal saree has been called "a rare collectors' textile," and I am #alwaysingratitude for the privilege of wearing it. The Dongria are a poor but mighty people who never give up. #imwiththem Quit looking at the stuff in my room and notice the awesome hand-painted blouse. Stella definitely approved, so that was good. I chose this saree today to remember the men and women who labor invisibly and in suffering in order to sustain my #whiteprivilege The @fash_rev is coming. Who made your clothes? #sareenotsorry #sareeonmovement #iwearhandloom #whomademyclothes #didyougetthatinindia (yes, directly from a bright and tenacious girl in Bhubaneswar @utkalamrita - definitely check her out. She seems to have some magic with FedEx, because I received my gorgeous sarees in the blink of an eye. )
A post shared by Stacy Jacobs (@stajo12) on

The best thing is how I had just hinted about our state Odisha, her rich culture and told her tidbits about the Dongria Tribe via watsapp, and we found she had done complete research about this hardy tribe which has been fighting a battle against a mighty British mining company! She uses the hashtag #protestsaree  and #whiteprivilege and stands with all the people suffering anywhere in the world. With a most humantitarian base of ideas, she is a global citizen.

#Repost @stajo12 thanks so much dear! :) #bhubaneswarbuzz #shoutout #iwearhandloom ・・・ Why is this night different from all other nights? On Passover, Jewish families come together to remind one another that back in the day, they were slaves. Way back in the day. Then their all-purpose, good for everything God rained down a lot of stuff on the bad guys and rescued the slaves. Yay God. And what's your superpower? Ours is remembering. Remembering that bad things happen to good people for reasons we will never understand. We remember that everything has a beginning, a middle, and an end. We remember that we who have been so fortunate, we who were rescued from our anguish and despair, we have a responsibility to stand up for and stand with all who are oppressed. And we remember that no matter how hard it seems or how impossible the problem, we never ever give up. Just like the Dongria Kondh, the small but mighty tribe from Odisha who battled a giant British company and won, against all odds. This heirlooom Dongria saree came to me from @utkalamrita and I am #alwaysingratitude
A post shared by Utkalamrita (@utkalamrita) on


Not just Odisha sarees, she wears #handloom #sarees from across the length and breadth of India by ordering from various Indian sellers and websites. Not just from India, but as Indian designers are worldwide she sources the prettiest things from literally the world over. The most heartening thing about her is- She is #alwaysingratitude. This points to an eternal spiritual state of bliss. Her every post personifies #MoreIndianThanYouThink. She truly is. The below is my favorite:

Should I wear my hair in a ponytail? Should I dress myself up in chanel? Do I measure me by what you think? Absolutely not, absolutely not If I go to work in a mini-skirt Am I givin' you the right to flirt? I won't compromise my point of view Absolutely not, absolutely not Today I drape my #whiteprivilege in six magnificent yards of handloomed hand-block-printed kalamkari-inspired saree from @designerayushkejriwal You may be familiar with the uber-elegant black saree with green and gold border made famous by the breathtaking beauty and my personal saree-style inspiration @balanvidya What attracted me to Ayush is the ease with which he articulates his brand ethos and the straightforward way he writes about style. This gorgeous #protestsaree stands for the rights of women everywhere to be fully and freely ourselves. Am I not Indian enough to wear this traditional motif? Am I putting myself at risk in this culture by wearing the garments from another? Are you too Indian to wear that miniskirt? Should you wear that in the evening? Do the opinions of others about what is appropriate have anything to do with me? #absolutelynot. #iwearhandloom #deborahcox #bekind #bestrong #befearless #alwaysingratitude #indianfashion #sareelove #sareenotsorry #sareeonmovement #keepcalmandsareeon #didyougetthatinindia (Nope! This beauty came from Scotland!) #diversitymatters Photo by my lovely @kate.jacobs
A post shared by Stacy Jacobs (@stajo12) on


Stacy thinks and dresses many times like a proud Indian, her philosophy is very Indian and that is how she is a world citizen admired by so many the world over. Her posts are full of admiration and respect for an upholder of values and a fighter against injustice. Just like this ad by Lufthansa tells you:


There are many stories like this to share. When we are promoting Indian handloom and crafts, then all the more so! The forthcoming posts will talk more. Until then, think like an Indian- be creative, ingenious, compassionate and the world will love and respect you more! :)


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