Jnanadanandini was the wife of Satyendranath Tagore, the first Indian to join the civil service .
When Jnanadanandini, who spent two years in Mumbai with Satyendranath, returned to Jorasanko wearing the sari “Bombay style”, it created a flutter in the Tagore household. The common Bengali called the style “sarees of the Tagore family”.
Jnanadanandini advertised in the papers to teach others to wear the sari the way she did. A number of aristocratic Brahmikas turned up to learn the art.
She also introduced the practice of wearing petticoats, chemises, blouses and jackets with saris.
Jnanadanandini’s close friend Suniti Devi, the Maharani of Coochbehar, simplified the inherent awkwardness of the Bombay style by pinning a broach to keep the shoulder drape in place. She wore a small triangular piece of cloth on her head like a Spanish mantilla to give the sari a dash of western glamour.
It is unfortunate that modern Bengali women are giving up the sari for other dresses.