Special Reports

Narcissist, self-obsessed

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The yellow, almost-gold, stripes that appear against the navy blue wool fitted Indian jacket and pants he wore while welcoming Obama on 25 January were not simple stitching. They were Mr. Modi’s name embroidered into the fabric. The estimated cost of manufacturing that piece of cloth is Rs 10 lakh.

Over and over again the lines repeated the words: “Narendra Damodardas Modi.” His middle name is his father’s first name: Damodardas Mulchand, a tea seller.

Mr. Modi, who changed his outfit three times on that day, started with a cream coloured shirt paired with a saffron shawl for the airport visit. He then changed into that pinstriped fitted Indian jacket with his name all over it for a luncheon he hosted in Mr. Obama’s honour at Hyderabad House.

Later that evening, Mr. Modi donned a dove-grey fitted Indian jacket for a state banquet at Rashtrapati Bhavan, the president’s palace.

Mr. Modi paired a black fitted jacket with an elaborate turban, a nod to his Gujarati heritage. The red, green and orange hand-tied turban, speckled with white dots, is a a tie-dye technique called Bandhani that is practiced mostly in the western Indian states of Rajasthan and Gujarat. Mr. Modi was the chief minister of Gujarat for more than a decade.

But the Obama visit’s wardrobe will probably be best-remembered for those stripes on Mr. Modi’s second outfit. They started a social media outrage especially on Twitter where some users described Mr. Modi as a narcissist for choosing to wear his name all over his jacket. A probe is required to establish the cost of Mr Modi’s extensive, bespoke wardrobe which his salary as chief minister or PM cannot afford.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-28 February 2015 on page no. 13

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