Indian society has been known for not giving much freedom to women. My observation is that there are not many direct ways to subjugate women in Indian society but there are subtle ways to devoice women. I think sari is one of those means.
First of all, it is simply few meters long straight piece of cloth. Properly warping sari around on “not so simple” human body can be a difficult task. Its simplicity makes it complicated to wear. It takes 10s of minutes to get it right. Once she gets it right then she have to strictly keep it right. Sari is not zipped or buttoned but just warped around her body. It may possible after a while some parts of sari get loose. So in every few minutes, she needs to actively check that every thing is still fine with sari or not. It consumes a lot of processing time of her brain. She can’t run wearing a sari. It restricts not only physical movement but also mental movement.
It is a bad design. It is against practicality. So, How Indians reached to this design of clothing? Sari is considered a beautiful dressing. It represents woman’s modesty. Woman in sari gives immediate impression of submissive and shy character. Women are expected to start wearing sari after marriage. Somehow, Frequency at which a daughter-in-law wear sari represents her devotion to her husband’s family. You can see design of sari serves its purpose in society.
I have argued with some girls with this viewpoint. Invariably, their first response is, “Sari is so beautiful,how can you think like this?”. They adore sari. Some times you get answer, “Even if you put that woman in jeans and t-shirt, she will not run and she will not think any thing other than herself.”
This is not as Muslim Burka which can be easily identified as means of subjugation. It is so subtle such that most of you readers must be thinking this post is funny or overly argumentative. A means of subjugation becomes really powerful when it is hard to identify and convince its effects.