Opinion: Decoding Modi's Independence Day speech, and saffron headgear

Written By: Amit Chaturvedi WION Web Team
New Delhi, Delhi, India Updated: Aug 15, 2018, 11:51 AM(IST)

PM Modi gestures prior to his speech as part of India's 72nd Independence Day celebrations on August 15, 2018. Photograph:( AFP )

The occasion was right. The stage was set. And under the ever watchful eyes of our jawans, the 'performer' took to the stage. Narendra Modi and his eloquence knows no bounds. In a white kurta and orange-red pagdi (headgear), Modi arrived to address the nation on Independence Day - his last as PM before next year's elections. The words were chosen carefully, crafted to perfection.

After unfurling the Tricolour, as hundreds watched on their TV screens, Modi roared from the ramparts of the Red Fort, "Country is reaching new heights, people are feeling optimistic" and began listing the achievements of his government.

A master orator, Modi knows how to seize the moment. In 2014, he arrived at the Red Fort in a red turban and delivered a power-packed speech, in line with the 'Modi Wave' which brought the BJP to power.

As Modi gestured, his turban moved with him, much like the cape of 'Doctor Strange'. The free flowing cloth of his turban seemed to accentuate the point he was making.

Modi has never shied away from sartorial experiments, especially when it comes to turbans. At different occasions, he has worn various turbans. From a Japi (a traditional Assamese hat) to a saffron turban, Modi has carefully chosen his headgear to make a statement.

And today was no different. Modi was dressed in orange-coloured headgear. The choice was apt considering he was presenting the report card of his government and sending a message ahead of the general elections next year. Saffron, which indicates the strength and courage of the country, was chosen by Modi to emphasise that he led the government with strength and courage.

He also chose saffron headgear for the occasion perhaps to give reply to Congress president Rahul Gandhi who yesterday said he doesn't believe in 'any kind of Hindutva'. The choice was political - making it clear that Hindutva is very much at the core of the BJP. It is the battle colour of the Rajputs, the warrior caste primarily from Rajasthan. The peppering of red in his turban today symbolised the tilak a warrior puts on his forehead before heading to the battlefield.

In today's speech, Modi did not mention Pakistan, China or any neighbouring country. Or talked about India's foreign policy. Modi's headgear meant he is ready for the electoral battle. The tone of his speech and colour choice meant he unleashed the battle cry for the elections next year.

(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed above are the personal views of the author and do not reflect the views of ZMCL)

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