01 August, 2021

Nehru Jacket Or Modi Vest: Which One Are You Wearing Today?

Two Indian jackets, picked threadbare, to square a debate

Nehru Jacket Or Modi Vest: Which One Are You Wearing Today?

Amid the whirligig of changing customs and ideals of Indian politics through generations, only one article has survived unsca­thed: the Nehru jacket—short, snugly fitted, its modishness personified by Panditji, who stands out amidst nationalist leaders in photographs from the 1930s. A sartorial constant with politicians ever since, it has also been adapted at times. An example is the ‘Modi jacket’, in news recently when South Korean President Moon Jae-In tweeted his thanks—along with pictures of tailored jackets in four colours—to Narendra Modi for the handsome gifts. A storm sprang up in no time, with many arguing that before 2014, it was the Nehru jacket.

Yet, Modi’s version of the garment has caught on—its wide display in Delhi’s markets a testimony to its growing popularity. Actually, it’s on the natural, evolutionary path of the outfit known as ‘Sadri’ or a variant, ‘Bundi’,...

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