An Interview with Bharat Basnet

Features Issue 79 Jul, 2010
Text by Ivan Sada

As the Managing Director of Explore Nepal (P) td.,Bharat Basnet looks elegant in a daura suruwal; the former is worn on the upper torso and the latter on the lower, and he has been wearing the outfit since his childhood. He explains that wearing the national dress has been a blessing, and he explains: “When I need to attend a formal occasion, the dress suits thepurpose. I just need to add a topi (hat). And when I need to be casual, as you know the dress itself is casual. You just need to know how to carry it along. I do not have to worry about choosing attire.

” Bharat shares his love with the daura suruwal with us. Excerpts:

Why do you always wear a daura suruwal?
Nepal is rich on cultural diversity and thus to identify myself as a Nepali, I wear the national dress. It’s not a matter of one searching for his identity, because it is, itself, a national treasure.

What material is it made of?
The cloth is khadi (local cotton) and kogati (also local cotton but yellowish in color) and it is homespun. I order them from Khotang, Bhojpur and Therathum. I only consume what is produced in the country. The handspun materials are hard to come these days; thus, I have stocked my wardrobe. I do not have to worry about not finding the material when I want it. The coat that I wear (which is an imitation of the west) on top of my dress is made out of the finest hemp available. It has its own charm.

How much does your daura suruwal cost?
It just costs about 50 to 60 rupees per meter, depending on the quality. So what I wear just comes around to five hundred rupees.  I have mine made at Bhedasingh which, as you know, is a popular place to shop for the national dress. I also have a tailor in Maharajgung who has been tailoring my dress for quite sometime now.

What other accessories do you add on?
I do not wear a patuka, (the cloth tied around the waist like a cumberbund), nor a belt. It is not necessary for me. The only thing that I sometimes wear are insignias like the khukri pin on my topi. I mostly wear a badge with a photograph of Prithivi Narayan Shah, the founder of Nepal. You can assume the rationale behind it.

Any intention to change your image?
There was a time when I had to wear a suit to work. It did not work out for me. I have never been without a daura suruwal and I do not intend to change it anytime soon.