Sitharaman adorned a striking ‘Ramar’ blue and cream-colored silk sari embellished with traditional Kantha embroidery, a sartorial choice that resonated with her previous Budget Day ensembles and highlighted her deep appreciation for Indian textiles.
Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, center in blue saree, poses for the media holding a pouch containing a digital tablet as she leaves her office along with her colleagues for President’s house before presenting the federal budget in the Parliament in New Delhi, India, Thursday, Feb. 1, 2024. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)
The ‘Ramar’ blue, named after Lord Ram’s characteristic hue, is a unique colour widely recognised in Tamil Nadu, blending elements of blue and black. Intriguingly, this particular shade finds mention in Valmiki’s Ramayana, further enhancing its cultural significance.
Sitharaman’s choice of this colour not only reflects her commitment to traditional Indian aesthetics but also aligns with the broader theme of promoting indigenous craftsmanship and heritage.
The stunning kantha embroidery, originating from Bangladesh (formerly East Bengal), involves skillfully stitching together layers of vintage saris or dhotis, creating intricate quilt-like patterns through meticulous running stitches. It stands as one of India’s oldest and revered embroidery styles, contributing to the rich of the nation’s textile heritage.
The “vocal for local” message echoed through Sitharaman’s past Budget Day attires, showcasing her consistent support for homegrown artistry. In the previous year, she wore a handwoven red ilkal sari featuring Navalagunda embroidery, a special gift from fellow minister Pralhad Joshi. The chosen embroidery, hand-stitched onto the sari, exemplified the personalised touch given to commemorate the occasion.
Watch: Nirmala Sitharaman’s signature sarees on Budget Day 2024
Cream or off-white appears to be a favoured choice for the Finance Minister, evident in her attire over the years. In 2021, she chose a red and off-white Pochampally sari, while 2022 saw her in a rusty brown Bomkai sari. In 2020, a vibrant yellow silk sari with a thin blue border graced the occasion, and her debut Budget in 2019 featured a pink Mangalgiri sari with a golden border.
Beyond the fiscal details presented, Sitharaman’s attire serves as a symbolic nod to the wealth of India’s textile heritage, celebrating the artistry, craftsmanship, and vibrant cultural palette that defines the nation.