Importance of sartorial qualities in Indian politics

February 25, 2014 § Leave a comment

Republican Party reportedly spent ~$150,000 on Sarah Palin’s wardrobe after she was picked as VP candidate. In India, the considerations are polar opposite. A BBC report on Arvind Kejriwal today spends first section talking about his clothes:

There it was: clean, white and defiant.

A circle of Arvind Kejriwal’s shirt was poking from a hole in the middle of his rumpled sweater. And below, his bare feet were clad in well-worn sandals with a relaxed coating of dust.

But perhaps more significant than Mr Kejriwal’s choice of look for his BBC interview is that he will probably be quite happy for us to point it out – unlike many smarter-looking politicians.

In fact, Kejriwal’s political “godfather” Anna Hazare also attaches unusual importance to appearance of a person and judge their qualities without even meeting them:

I have faith in [Mamta Banerjee] because she is a Chief Minister but still wears slippers. She did not take a government bungalow. She lives in her father’s small house. Her sari is simple, made of khadi. She walks for 8-10 kilometres every day visiting villages. Such people can improve the nation.

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