Republic Day special: Celebrating beautiful diversity in costumes across the Indian cultural diaspora

Republic Day,Republic Day special,26 January
Pinky Tamang, who hails from Sikkim, turned Maharashtrian for a day. (Raajessh Kashyap/HT Photo)

Our multiculturalism is what defines us and makes us invincible. It replenishes our soul with the faith that we will always be one, no matter how tough the tides get. As we applaud our beautiful diversity, we present a mélange of cultures that make India special. In this shoot, we have Indians showcasing the outfits of a state they don’t belong to. And yet, the state is embedded in their soul, as they put it. You have Punjabis in love with all things Bengali, a North Easterner who believes she has the soul of a Maharashtrian, an Andhra girl who swears by the charm of Kashmir. India, there’s none like you!

Pinky Tamang hails from the kaleidoscopic Sikkim, known for its ethereal valleys and soulful shrines. Pinky has always been in love with the Maharashtrian culture. A red silk sari, a beautiful moti nath, the half moon bindi
and white gajra made her look every inch the Maharashtrian that she always wanted to be.

Flaming red chinar leaves, dreamy saffron flowers and the surreal valleys of Kashmir evoke imagination and stir deep emotions in her, says 26-year-old abstract artist Shravanti T Mamillapalli from Andhra Pradesh. As she shot for us wearing a lovely phiran, she soulfully sang the Kashmiri folk song, Bumbro Bumbro.

Model Renee Kujur from the beautiful tribal state of Chattisgarh is in love with all things Gujarati. “I must have been a gypsy from Gujarat in my past life,” she gushes as she shoots for us in her mirror-work choli and vibrant ghaghra teamed with silver jewellery. And of course, the 33-year-old is the undisputed queen of all the garba nights she religiously attends.

From its eclectic food to culture and jaw dropping scenic beauty, mass communication student Sheen Turki from Himachal Pradesh has always been a fan of Kerala. Sheen chose to represent the state wearing a Kasavu sari with mogra gajra in her hair.

Graphic designer Sunpreet Kaur’s work is often inspired by the majestic Sunderbans, the quaint beauty of Shantiniketan, the joie de vivre of Kolkata. The 26-year-old wears a silk sari draped in atpoure style.
“Let me not pray to be sheltered from dangers, but to be fearless in facing them,” entrepreneur Minijit Singh from Punjab recited these lines from Rabindranath Tagore’s The Grasp Of Your Hand as we began the shoot. “His words nourished my soul even as a child,” says Singh. The 76-year-old showcased his love for Bengal with his attire — a white kurta, a shawl and dhoti draped in Bengali style.