New Delhi, Feb 14: Fashion designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee today apologised for his comments on Indian women and the sari after he faced a backlash from women's groups and others.
The Kolkata-based designer posted an open letter on Instagram, saying he regrets using the word "shame" while talking about the inability of some women to wear a sari at the Harvard India Conference last week.
"... Allow me to sincerely apologise for the words that I used while answering impromptu questions at a conference at Harvard. I am sorry that I used the word 'shame' in reference to some women's inability to wear a sari. I truly regret that the way in which I tried to make a point about the sari enabled it to be interpreted as misogynistic, patriarchal, and non-inclusive - this was certainly not my intention," he wrote.
Many, particularly on social media, took offence to the remarks from the designer to the stars, calling them patriarchal and anti-feminist.
Sabyasachi had told Indian students in Harvard on Saturday, "I think, if you tell me that you do not know how to wear a sari, I would say shame on you. It's a part of your culture, (you) need to stand up for it."
Clarifying his remarks, the celebrity designer said a woman had asked him to comment on the cultural taboo of young women wearing saris because society tells them that it "makes them look older".
"The ubiquity of such sentiments in our culture, evidenced by the fact that this question was posed to me at Harvard, of all places, was hard-hitting and triggered an unfortunate series of reactions on my part," he said in a three-page letter on his Instagram page.
Sabyasachi, who said he has "worked with the sari for 16 years", also spoke of how some women are body shamed for choosing to wear the traditional drape and added that it was this "constant barrage of negativity" which mushroomed into the comments he eventually made.
"Yet another question of ageism and the sari at Harvard triggered a lot of pent-up frustration that I have accrued for that segment of our society which constantly expresses disdain for this piece of Indian heritage.