Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman with a Made-in-India tab instead of the traditional bahi khata.
As far as cultural symbolism goes, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s choice of saree for the Budget Day is bang on.
- Last Updated: February 01, 2021, 11:33 IST
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This morning, when Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman posed for the camera with her core team ahead of the Budget presentation, people in West Bengal would have likely taken note of her subtle symbolism.
Known for her love for handloom, Nirmala Sitharaman chose to wear a silk red-and-white saree on the Budget Day. Called the ‘laal paad’ saree in Bengal, it is worn by women during auspicious occasions. The saree is particularly associated with the Durga Puja festivities—women on Dashami (the last day of the festival) wear ‘laal paad’ saree while bidding farewell to the goddess.
As far as cultural symbolism goes, Sitharaman’s choice of saree for this year’s Budget is bang on. The ‘laal paad’ saree is an intrinsic part of the Bengali culture. Of the many fronts on which the Bengal assembly elections are being fought, culture is right on top. The Finance Minister in her opening remarks quoted Rabindranath Tagore, a Nobel laureate and a Bengali cultural icon. “Faith is the bird that feels light when the dawn is still dark,” she quoted Tagore while speaking on India’s fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
Nirmala Sitharaman’s choice of saree while presenting the last two Budgets was also unmissable. Last year, the finance minister wore a bright yellow saree on the Budget day, two days after Basant Panchami. While wearing the colour of spring and prosperity, Sitharaman presented the Budget which was centred on an ‘Aspirational India’. Her Budget speech, at 160 minutes, remains the longest in the country’s history.
The year before that, in 2019, Nirmala Sitharaman wore a pink saree with golden border, and ditched the masculine briefcase for a traditional ‘bahi-khata’.