- By Zakiya Afzani
Why Mother Teresa’s clothes have been trademarked
Mother Teresa (Majka Teresa), known in the Catholic Church as Saint Teresa of Calcutta (born Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu, 26 August 1910 – 5 September 1997), was a christian nun of Albanian-Indian decent born and raised in the Former Yugoslavia.
Teresa was born in Skopje now the capital of the Macedonia, then part of the Ottoman Empire.
After living in Macedonia for eighteen years Teresa moved to Ireland and then to India, where she lived for most of her life.
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For nearly half a century, Mother Teresa worked with the poor in the Indian city of Kolkata (Calcutta) wore a simple white sari with three blue stripes on the borders, one thicker than the rest.
Senior nuns who work for ‘Missionaries of Charity’, a 67-year-old sisterhood which has more than 3’000 nuns worldwide, continue to wear what has now become the religious uniform of this global order.
On Monday, news washed up that this “famous” sari of the Nobel laureate nun, who died in 1997, has been trademarked to prevent “unfair” use by people for commercial purposes.
India’s government quietly recognised the sari as the intellectual property of the Missionaries of Charity in September 2016, when the nun was declared a saint by the Vatican, but the order had decided not to make it public.
Biswajit Sarkar, a Kolkata-based lawyer who works pro-bono for the order, says he had applied for the trademark in 2013. “It just came to my mind that the colour-identified blue border of the sari had to be protected to prevent any future misuse for commercial purposes,” he told me. “If you want to wear or use the colour pattern in any form, you can write to us and if we are convinced that there is no commercial motive, we will allow it.”
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