Mandira's saree sparks a controversy

While anchoring a sports show for a satellite channel, Mandira was wearing a saree which has India's tri-colour on it.

  • Updated: April 28, 2007, 9:27 PM IST
Mandira's saree sparks a controversy

New Delhi: Actress and cricket anchor Mandira Bedi's clothes flagged off a fresh controversy on Saturday after she was spotted wearing the Indian colours in a disrespectful manner on a satellite television channel.

Hosting the live telecast of the Cricket World Cup along with Charu Sharma on SetMax, Mandira was seen wearing an image of the Indian Tricolour below her waist, which seems to have gone against the constitutional norm. Mandira's saree on the occasion had images of national flags of all the cricket-playing nations printed on it. But it placed the image of the Indian Tricolour in a rather disrespectful position.

The Indian Government had cleared wearing of images of the Indian Tricolour on clothing in 2005, but had clearly ruled that the flag can only be displayed on garments above the waist.

As soon as the show kicked off at 1700 hours (IST) on Saturday evening and the Indian cricket fans glued to their television sets for some good cricket, SMSs started doing the rounds in India, pointing fingers at the aberration on Mandira's saree.

According to sources, the controversial saree was part of a special collection designed by Satya Paul, which is being sported exclusively by Mandira Bedi during the ongoing World Cup.

The Indian Government had cleared wearing of images of the Indian Tricolour on clothing in 2005 following a raging debate over the provision of the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971, according to which using the Indian national flag as a drapery in any form except in state funerals was a crime.


The restrictions were eased after a legal fight by industrialist and Congress party MP Naveen Jindal, demanding that all Indians and institutions be allowed to fly the national flag respectfully. After the Supreme Court ruled in favour of Jindal in 2001, the Government brought in an amendment in the Act in 2005.

However, even that amendment made it clear that the flag can only be displayed on garments above the waist. As per the order, caps and T-shirts are in, but swimsuits and evening gowns are still a no-no. The flag can not be embroidered or printed even on cushion covers, gloves, handkerchiefs, napkins and dress material.

In view of this clause, Mandira's saree seems to have run foul with the law. There was no official word on the issue immediately.

The Indian Tricolour first made its debut on clothing in a sports event in February 2005, when Narain Karthikeyan was wearing the Indian colors on his helmet in test drives in Barcelona during the Formula One race track despite it being a non-national event.

Asked by the official Formula One magazine what the helmet design revealed about his mindset, Karthikeyan echoed Leander Paes' sentiments by replying, "It is a personal interpretation of the Indian flag. To signal at first sight, where by heart belongs."

However, Mandira Bedi's move to wear a saree with the Indian Tricolour below her waist is bound to spark off a raging debate in the days to come. Mandira was recently involved in another row for sporting a tattoo with a religious symbol.

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