23 Sep 2022  |   06:55am IST

A ‘Foreign-make’ T-shirt

Pradip Lawande

Recently, Union Home Minister Amit Shah targeted Rahul Gandhi over the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ saying the Congress leader is out to ‘unite’ the country wearing a ‘foreign make’ T-shirt.

Now, how is foreign T-shirt connected to Bharat Jodo Yatra? Everyone knows that the birth place of Rahul’s mother is a foreign country. It might be that some of Rahul’s relatives or friends presented him a T-shirt and the latter wore it during the yatra. What is wrong in it? Are not our ministers accepting valuable gifts from their foreign counterparts when they frequently visit there? In fact Soniyaji, despite being a foreigner originally, usually wears saris and loves to speak in Hindi, the national language of India. Those who do not appreciate these high values of hers have no moral right to criticise her son over his wearing a foreign make T-shirt.

Do we perform all our activities keeping in mind respect for our nation? By law, the cloth of our national flag is required to be either khadi or hand spun material. But flags that were distributed or sold to the people by the Governments during the Amrit Mahotsav of Independence of India this year were not made of the above materials.

The Father of our Nation Mahatma Gandhi used to lead various yatras during the freedom struggle of our country. But lay aside foreign make shirt, Gandhiji did not even wear indigenous shirt then. He moved without shirts. In fact he just wrapped a loincloth around his waist. Some Englishmen then ridiculed Gandhiji and called him “half naked fakir”.

Gandhiji put minimum cloths on his body then. Because, he believed that he represented the poor masses of India who were bereft of basic necessities of life viz food, clothing and shelter. Therefore Bapuji himself adopted a very simple life style. But now the circumstances have changed. In 75 years of Independence our country has made tremendous progress in all fields. It has overtaken the United Kingdom that once ruled our country. To-day India’s rank in World Economy is fifth whereas that of UK is sixth. Therefore Amitji should not worry if Rahulji wears a foreign T-shirt.

Those who criticise Rahulji for wearing foreign T-shirt forget that they themselves too do not wear indigenous clothes. Pants or trousers are not our native costumes. They are Western. Pants are either full or half and they are of different colours including khaki and brown. Our original garments are bandis, khamij, dhotis, lungis, lengas, langotis, kastis, etc. Therefore, those who live in glass houses should not throw stones on others.

But attires are only the outer coverings of the body. Important are the inner feelings and emotions. In this context, there is one famous Hindi song of an old movie written by Poet Shailendra and sung by singer Mukesh. I am tempted here to present before you English translation of the first stanza of that song:

My shoes are made in Japan

My pantaloons are made in Britain

On my head is red cap Russian

But my heart is genuine Indian.


Iddhar Udhar