Sonia Gandhi’s new colour card



New Delhi : Some years back, I stumbled upon an article on how people who undergo intensive surgical procedures or emerge from a battle with serious medical issues change their approach to dressing. Partly, because their minds begin to respond to newer stimuli in colour, form and shape. Colour is a very significant aspect of our natural, unconscious healing mechanism, it often helps giving us a context about our current moods and moments. The association of blue with depression isn’t coincidental, nor is that of black and white in different communities with mourning or red as the colour for the Indian bride.

It all started with an animated conversation on Modinagar shikanji that I overhead at a mall. Shikanji, Hindi for lemonade, is a cultural

Our choice of a particular colour in rejection of others, also denotes the phase of life we are in; sometimes we merely get fed up and dump even our favourite blue. Likewise, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi is surely going through a colour transition in her style. You could call it an informed guess made by observing her recent images but Mrs Gandhis whites, creams and neutral toned saris have been recently given a backseat for those in brighter colours. Not that she ever shunned the dark palette entirely, but her impeccable taste in India’s best textiles and sometimes the rarest ones got most showcased in whites and lights. There are thousands of images of her wearing temple bordered white saris, or neutral, beige khadis with thin green or blue borders. Almond coloured khadi, pristine whites, soft blues, mix of black and white would dominate her public dressing choices. Then, thoughtfully enough, she would favour dark shades in winter as a nod to the season or when she wears Ikat, which has been one of Mrs Gandhi’s favourite weaves.


That’s why its a pleasant surprise to note that in the middle of what’s been one of Delhi’s most scorching summers, when even the most thoughtless dressers are naturally veering towards white, Mrs Gandhi has chosen bright saris. See the pictures here, especially the bright green one with a fushcia blouse she wore a fortnight back when she announced finance minister Pranab Mukherjee’s as the UPA candidate for President. Fushcia is a colour few associate with Mrs Gandhi so it needs special mention but that’s not all. She has also been pairing her saris with blouses in contrasting colours instead of matching them like she always did.



Is it a phase? Perhaps. Is it because she is following the tried and tested path of cheering herself up with pretty colours after battling with ill health for a while or the many disappointments that surround her party? Perhaps. Whichever, let’s keep a watch and see which hypothesis has more matter. Mrs Gandhi is a delightful role model even for the most cynical textile explorers who admit–like the insular Salvi family of weavers in Patan in Gujarat–that she is the only politician who knows how a true weave must be worn.