Ayan Ghosh On August 6, even as the morning turned mercurial with the sky melting into a downpour, a determined group of sari and handloom lovers from across the capital made their way to a vintage sari sale that we at Sahapedia had organised at our office in South Delhi. It was a sale of handloom saris that were donated by connoisseurs who no longer wore those saris, but had treasured them for long. An unusual bagh print, which would have cost the owner around Rs 4, today, was available for just Rs On the other end, a pristine white Kanchi cotton with a green border could be snapped up for Rs
Whether the story happened the way Smith tells it—or even at all—is up for debate as the new Smithsonian Channel documentary explains. Born abouther real name was Amonute, and she also had the more private name Matoaka.
Years later—after no one was able to dispute the facts—John Smith wrote about how she, the beautiful daughter of a powerful native leader, rescued him, an English adventurer, from being executed by her father. This narrative of Pocahontas turning her back on her own people and allying with the English, thereby finding common ground between the two cultures, has endured for centuries.
Now, years after her death, the story of the real Pocahontas is finally being accurately explored. Beyond the Mythpremiering on March 27, authors, historians, curators and representatives from the Pamunkey tribe of Virginia, the descendants of Pocahontas, offer expert testimony to paint a picture of a spunky, cartwheeling Pocahontas who grew up to be a clever and brave young woman, serving as a translator, ambassador and leader in her own right in the face of European power.
Camilla Townsend, author of the authoritative Pocahontas and the Powhatan Dilemma and a history professor at Rutgers University, who is featured in Beyond the Myth, talks The new colors of life saris story Smithsonian.
How did you become a scholar of Pocahontas? I was a professor of Native American history for many years. I was working on a project comparing early relations between colonizers and Indians in Spanish America and English America when they arrived.
There are truly hundreds of books over the many years that have been written about her. But when I tried to look into it, I found that most of them were full of hogwash.
This goes back to John Smith who marketed their relationship as a love story. What class and cultural factors have allowed that myth to persist? That story that Pocahontas was head over heels in love with John Smith has lasted for many generations.
He mentioned it himself in the Colonial period as you say.
Then it died, but was born again after the revolution in the early s when we were really looking for nationalist stories. That whole idea makes people in white American culture feel good about our history. Before she could return to Virginia, she fell ill. She died in England, possibly of pneumonia or tuberculosis, and was buried at St.
How do the Pamunkey and other native people tell her story today? In general, until recently, Pocahontas has not been a popular figure among Native Americans.
When I was working on the book and I called the Virginia Council on Indians, for example, I got reactions of groans because they were just so tired.
Native Americans for so many years have been so tired of enthusiastic white people loving to love Pocahontas, and patting themselves on the back because they love Pocahontas, when in fact what they were really loving was the story of an Indian who virtually worshipped white culture.
It seemed unrealistic to them. Partly, I think the Disney movie ironically helped. She was a spunky girl who did everything she could to help her people. Once they begin to realize that they understandably become a lot more interested in her story.
So the lesson passed down by mainstream culture is that by leaving her people and adopting Christianity, Pocahontas became a model of how to bridge cultures. Largely, the lesson is one of extraordinary strength even against very daunting odds.
They had stronger technology, more powerful technology in terms of not only weapons, but shipping and book printing and compass making.
All the things that made it possible for Europe to come to the New World and conquer, and the lack of which made it impossible for Native Americans to move toward the Old World and conquer.
So Indians were facing extraordinarily daunting circumstances. Yet in the face of that, Pocahontas and so many others that we read about and study now showed extreme courage and cleverness, sometimes even brilliance in the strategizing that they used.
So I think what will be the most important lesson is that she was braver, stronger and more interesting than the fictional Pocahontas.
During your extensive research what were some details that helped you get to know Pocahontas better? The documents that really jumped out at me were the notes that survived from John Smith.Nov 23, · Colors Life Stories: "A Vibrant Life" - The Life Story of Sophia Amor Canoy Sodium City Church.
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Mama's Saris When a young girl eyes her mother's suitcase full of gorgeous silk, cotton and embroidered saris, she decides that she, too, should wear one, even though she is too young for such clothing.
Saris and Stories via Steampunk India · October 4, · Interview with Ram Devineni, the creator of the Priya's Shakti comic, which focuses on raising awareness toward gender-based violence across India and tirelessly works towards effecting change.
Women of all shapes, sizes, skin colors, & beyond will feel confidently beautiful in Prabal Gurung’s Fall line, inspired by the bright colors of female-led activist groups in China and India.
In East Asian stock markets, red is used to denote a rise in stock prices.
(Note: In North American stock markets, red is used to denote a drop in stock prices.) Red is an auspicious color for marriage. Brides in India and Nepal wear red saris; in Japan, a red kimono symbolizes happiness and good luck.
The symbolism of color stands out and controls every aspect of life in India, be it religion, politics, festivals, or celebrations. In India, be it the north, south, west, or east, color and culture go hand in hand.