On Sunday evening, the Lakme Fashion Week’s grand finale show by Anamika Khanna was supposed to be held at Bhau Daji Lad Museum in Mumbai. However, a group of MNS workers (Read: goons), protested against the fashion show on moral grounds, tore down curtains and even threatened to vandalise the venue of the 143-year old museum, if the fashion show was not called off. Considering the security issues, at the very last moment the organisers decided to shift the finale show back to the Palladium hotel, the main venue for the fashion week.
But as we say, the show must go on. Despite all the efforts, by the not so cultured moral police of our country, Anamika Khanna delivered an amazing and a power packed grand finale show. Kudos to her, and the entire organising team!
On being asked by ‘The National’, her reaction on the last moment change of the grand finale show venue on moral grounds, Anamika Khanna said, “The museum is spectacular and the show was planned according to the museum. I don’t know what it is but for some reason in India there is this perception that fashion is about stripping, and fashion is about people who are drinking and partying. I don’t think people in India respect the fact that fashion is about supporting Indian craft. I feel like when we’re in Paris, when we’re in Rome, they celebrate fashion with their historical venues.”
Spot on, i can’t agree with her more. The self appointed custodians of our culture have assumed their right to protest, and pass judgement and even enforce it solely based on their lack of knowledge and assumptions based on their personal beliefs and experiences. The fascist mindset of the moral police brigade is actually leading to a culture of intolerance, oppression and destruction in the country. And, yes, it also is becoming intolerable too.
What culture are we talking about?
A culture of intolerance, solely based on prejudices? A culture, where we don’t believe in appreciating our strong legacy of arts and crafts? And, when an opportunity is being created in the form of an event or a fashion show to develop awareness and celebrate the essence of our rich heritage, we have a bunch of goons who protest and threaten to disrupt the show.
‘Make in India’ is the latest mantra in the country. I wonder if the initiative of Make in India is also inclusive of our artisans, craftsman, weavers and fashion designers. Why do these people forget that by disrupting a show, they are also taking away the employment opportunities from thousands of skilled and almost extinct artisans and weavers? How does it encourage the fashion industry? How does it motivate our designers? How does it attract investors? Aren't we sending a wrong message to the industry? How do we even retain our skilled artisan under such intimidating and hostile environment? And how do we preserve our creative culture, and pass on to future generations?
How many of us are even aware of the 143-year old Bhau Daji Lad Museum in Mumbai? The show was an excellent opportunity for the Maharashtra Government to create a global awareness about the museum. Unfortunately, they just failed. Some of them objected to the commercialised aspect of the show. I don’t see anything wrong if the museum is getting paid for allowing its venue to be used for a fashion show? In return, the fundraising event could have helped the museum to carry forward its development programs.
Anamika’s collection was a celebration of our art, culture, and the dying ‘couturesque’ skills of our artisan and weavers. In Europe, fashion designers are encouraged to showcase their collection in museums, and heritage buildings. The support system does make a huge difference. No wonder, ‘Make in Italy’ sounds lot more relevant and enticing.