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#SareeNotSorry - the hashtag that's fighting racism through fashion

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 13 February 2017, 10:00 IST

She's Indian-American, brown, she dreams in in Hinglish, sings Bollywood songs in the rain and, she eats beef.

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Meet Tanya Rawal, the Indian-American Professor, who is fighting xenophobia in America one saree at a time. Started to fight back against the rising tide of hate crime and anti-immigration speeches, the #SareeNotSorry project has received much love from social media.

In an article on The Aerogram, Tanya writes that she wants to embrace the hypen.

"What would happen if we immigrants stopped trying so hard to assimilate? What if we started to feel as though we were a blessing to the countries we chose to make our home? What would it look like if we actually started to embrace the hyphen? Loving two countries does not undermine either nation, but it does threaten nationalism."

The idea, according to this professor at the University of California, is not to be the exotic other, but to be proud of one's culture and language.

To be comfortable in one's own skin. To be who one wants to be without compromising for fear of being perceived as different.

The idea was to use fashion to fight a battle that just words seem to be losing.

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Tanya however isn't the first one to reclaim the good old saree. The popular 100 Saree Pact, where women promise to wear saree for any 100 days in a year, got there first. What the 100 Saree Pact is to the women in India, #SareeNotSorry is to those abroad.


And what with Donald Trump running for President in America, the good fight against xenophobia seems all the more relevant. The sassy hashtags #SareeNotSorry/SariNotSorry have gained momentum on Instagram and Twitter, with women - ethnic or otherwise - taking up the saree as the weapon of choice.

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The women of the world are going the whole six yards in this fight for the freedom to exist without having to justify their existence. And it looks like they're going to win.

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First published: 23 November 2015, 3:07 IST