Minister Sudin Dhavalikar from Goa recently made a statement that bikinis should be banned so that Goan culture is protected. This has not gone down well and has drawn some sharp opinions. Not the least from outspoken fashion designer Wendell Rodricks.
The designer has sent an open letter to "the Goan Minister", but not named the minister directly, and has stated various historical facts that have evoked a response on social media. In the letter the designer has listed "foreign" influences including chillies, potatoes, chairs, tables, shirts, etc. as things that are non-Indian and should be shunned by the minister.
In the letter, Wendell Rodricks poses the question, “Shirts (European), Pants/Pyjamas (Chinese/Central Asia), socks, T-shirt and baniyan; yes your underwear too (Jersey was invented in Europe), Kurtas (Central Asia, Ottoman, Moghul). That leaves you with a kashti or pudvem and a shawl or cloth to cover your torso. Will you agree to go to your ministry office in this attire?”
“By the way, it was not in Indian culture for Indian women to wear a bra or a sari petticoat. The former came from France, the latter from Victorian England. Also, when the coloniser came to Goa, there were no cholis, except for the devadasis who used a kind of choli,” he adds.
Minister Dhavalikar recently said: “Young girls wearing short skirts in nightclubs are a threat to the Goan culture. This habit of young girls wearing short dresses everywhere does not fit the Goan culture. What will happen to it if this continues? We should not allow this. It should be stopped.”
Wendell Rodricks is a designer known for his minimalistic style and has been awarded the Padma Shri award has accused the minister of killing the tourism industry in the state (one of the key income sources for the state). “The fact is that we have a more progressive mindset than many states in the country. Opinions expressed should not be made until there is a knowledge of history and culture: We are a tourist state. Please do not kill the goose that lays the golden eggs,” Rodricks said.