The Sari Maker


There is a story of a sari maker who lived in India when it was occupied by the British Empire. This sari maker was acclaimed throughout India for his beautiful saris. What was unique about his saris were that were made out of such a delicate silk and finely woven that they could be folded up to fit into a matchbox. The sari maker’s saris become so well known that the Queen of England invited the sari maker as honored guest to England where he would make her a sari. When he arrives in England he was treated very well and created for the queen a beautiful sari that folded up into a matchbox. After he presented the sari to the queen she decided to cut off the sari maker and his apprentices’ fingers so she would be the only one to have a one of a kind of sari.

Background & Context:

This story was told to me by a Phd student in her mid 20s at USC, who also works as a TA. I collected this narrative during her office hours after class one day. While she has grown up in the United States she is ethnically half Thai and half Bandeglashean. She was told this story by her Bandeglashean father when she was a child. Something she did realize as a child but realized as she grew older was that the story was a representation of India’s natural resources by England during times of colonization.

Final Thoughts:

My thoughts on this narrative is that while it is most likely not true is serves as a good representation of colonization in India. It explains to us how India aka the sari maker was tricked into working for the queen aka England with false promises but was later taken advantage of. I also think it is interesting that while her father is originally from Bangladesh he is passing down a story about India to his daughter.