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Tibet trouble stirs up Indian fashion week

April 2, 2008

Mon Mar 31, 2008
By Prithwish Ganguly

MUMBAI (Reuters Life!) - Unrest in Tibet is stirring up the fashion
world of neighboring India, with a leading designer dedicating his show
at one of India's premier fashion events to peace in the remote
Himalayan region.

Sonam Dubal's "Trailing the River Goddess" collection at the Lakme
Fashion Week drew inspiration from three rivers -- Mekong, Brahmaputra
and Nile -- and their role as cradles of civilization.

Tibet's glaciers and snowy highlands feed the Brahmaputra and Mekong
rivers. Since peaceful demonstrations turned into a citywide riot in
Lhasa on March 14, anti-Chinese protests have broken out in other parts
of China inhabited by ethnic Tibetans.

"Though I'm not at the centre of the violence, reading about it has
pained my heart," Dubal said at the show on Sunday. "This is my
initiative to spread the word that violence leads us only to destruction.

"I feel we all should do something to propagate the message of peace in
this grim hour for Tibet."

Dubal's models walked down the runway in flowing kaftans, hand-printed
dresses and short embroidered jackets in shades of blue and brown.

The Olympic flame was welcomed by cheering children in Beijing on
Monday, for the symbolic start of a domestic and international relay
China's government had hoped would symbolize national unity ahead of the
Games in August.

Instead, China finds itself trying to deflect criticism over its
policies in Tibet and its response to unrest there, and could face the
prospect of weeks of protests as the Olympic flame circles the globe.

"Tibet is bleeding and we should pray for peace even though we may not
be affected by their problems," Dubal said. "It is peace we need, not
bloody massacres and blame games."

Dubal is among 57 designers showing autumn/winter collections at the
five-day Lakme Fashion Week that ends on Wednesday.

(Writing by Tony Tharakan; editing by Sophie Hardach)
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