Colour-coded politics

sushma-pakistan External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj with Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif during a meeting in Islamabad | PTI

What's in the colour of a sari? A lot generally, and more if you are External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. That too, on an official visit to Pakistan, the not-so-friendly neighbour which has a flag that is largely green.

Incidentally, the flag of the Jamaat-e-Islami, the flags atop mosques as well as of political parties in Pakistan are also largely green, and the same green. This is akin to the colours of our national flag and that of the Congress being similar, so too the saffron and green of the BJP.

But leaving flags alone to flutter and focussing just on saris, Sushma's when she met Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Foreign Affairs Minister Sartaj Aziz was green like the Pakistan flag or the Islamic palette. But it was not olive green, abbreviated to 'og', the colour of military uniforms and otherwise suggesting peace—holding out an olive branch. It can be safely interpreted that she was neither going to attack nor holding out an olive branch unconditionally. It must have gone down well with the Pakistanis. At home,however, the BJP's following on social media was rattled given the political stance of the BJP on Pakistan, particularly on bringing the culprits of Mumbai terror attack to trial.

Sushma explained it by saying she always wore green on Wednesdays. Her green sari of a different shade, and different fabric was previously noticed the day she defended herself in Lok Sabha on the Lalit Modi issue. It was a Wednesday; she was in green. As were Food Processing Industries Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal with her head draped in a green dupatta and a few other ladies in Parliament.

That was in fact the day some journos learnt that some of the women leaders picked a colour for a day of the week, incidentally believed to be auspicious as per the planetary configurations—white or pearl tinge for Mondays, reds and maroons for Tuesdays, green, of course, for Wednesdays, yellow for Thursdays, greys for Fridays and black for Saturdays, giving you the freedom to pick your favourite on Sundays.

Linda Goodman may not agree on this totally when she picks colours according to the sun signs of the Zodiac. But it appears, she does in part. She suggests whites on Mondays for Cancerians, maroon on Tuesdays for Scorpios, green on Wednesdays for Virgos, yellow on Thursdays for Sagittarians, blues and greys on Fridays for Librans and black on Saturdays for Capricons. She is silent on Sundays, though, suggesting freedom to pick.

India's best known woman leader, Mrs Indira Gandhi, was fond of colours, and picked her saris more to promote the weavers and textiles of India without compromising on colours. The same goes for the current Mrs Gandhi—Congress President Sonia Gandhi. Theirs are the saris that women of taste love to own.

On May 26, 2014, when the Modi government took oath in the forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhavan, Uma Bharti, Nirmala Sitharaman and Harsimrat Kaur Badal wore saffron colour. Maneka Gandhi and Najma Hepatulla wore green. Both were akin to the BJP colours. Smriti Irani wore a dangerous red with a black blouse.

Sushma Swaraj wore an off-white saree. It was a Monday.

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The Week

Topics : #Sushma Swaraj | #BJP

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