Tuesday, May 27, 2014

In praise of the "Indian Model" in development


Take a good look at that photograph of India's newly elected prime minister, Narendra Modi, shaking hands and having a conversation with his Pakistani counterpart, Nawaz Sharif.

The one in the photo below is Modi's Twitter BFF--Japan's prime minister, Shinzo Abe


And, finally, the president of China (PRC, not that other China!) Xi Jinping playing host to Russia's Vladimir Putin:


Notice that the leaders of Pakistan, Japan, and China are all wearing business suits, despite their own respective country's rich history of male attires?

As much as I hate do not care for Modi's views, I am delighted that his passion to execute a Chinese model of economic development in India did not lead him to switch to wearing business suits too.  Or that his bromance with Abe did not result in contacting the Japanese leader's tailor.

Of course, India has a long history of charting its own path, even when it comes to its leaders' outfits.

When that wonderful son of Gujarat, who is rarely ever remembered anymore, inspired India through his words and action, he systematically mentored his juniors, particularly Jawaharlal Nehru, to ditch the Western style of clothing in favor of a desi presentation--though he was the only half-naked fakir.  What a powerful statement that was to align his words and actions even in the clothing that he wore. I would have loved to meet with him, and worked with him.

Later as the prime minister, Nehru ended up making  his eponymous jacket famous in the Western countries that he visited.


What's the big deal whether they wear a business suit or the local cultural outfit, you ask?  It is a matter of personal preference, yes, in what I expect from a leader.  And, hey, be happy that at least in this context I am praising Modi!

But, of course, I am not fooled by what people wear; I am old enough, even if not wise, to know that clothes do not always make a man.


Shachi said...

It DOES matter. Even though I find it hard to drape a sari on my own, I never shy away from wearing it when the occasion arises.

Ramesh said...

@sriram - Sartorial freedom does not excuse baggy shorts and loose T shirts as the uniform :):)

@Shachi - Plizz to post the photo of the resplendent lady in a sari :) Else, we shall not believe that you kno0w how to drape one !!

Sriram Khé said...

Indeed, baggy shorts and loose shirts make one heck of a scary uniform!


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