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Republic Day celebrations are always synonymous with culture, as it is on this day that tableaux from different states are displayed as part of the parade on Rajpath in New Delhi. Spectators are greeted with a colourful splash and a symbolic representation of the diversity of the country.
This year, on the occasion of the 73rd year of the Indian Republic, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was seen wearing two pieces of clothing — belonging to two different states of the country — that hold great traditional significance.
The chief minister of Uttarakhand Pushkar Singh Dhami took to Twitter to point out that the PM wore the famous Brahmakamal cap, different from the colourful turbans that he has worn during all previous Republic Day celebrations.
The cap, also sometimes referred to as the ‘pahadi topi’, had the Brahma-kamal, which is the official flower of Uttarakhand that is poll-bound this year. It is said that the PM uses this very flower while offering prayers at the Kedarnath temple.
Apart from this, the leader was also seen wearing a traditional Manipuri stole, for which he was thanked by minister Biswajit Singh, who took to Twitter to write: “Moment of great pride and honour for entire #Manipur on seeing Adarniya PM @NarendraModi Ji wearing a Manipuri stole ‘Leirum Phee’ on the glorious occasion of 73rd Republic Day of India, showcasing the exquisite tradition of the state. (sic)”
The leirum phee has been seen on the PM on many occasions in the past, especially during live addresses to the nation. According to Imphal Free Press, the stole has come to be associated with the PM, with some even calling it ‘Modi scarf’.
Per the outlet, however, the story of leirum phee dates back to the reign of Khui Tompok, the Meitei king of Manipur. It has been recorded in ‘Cheitharol Kumbaba‘ that on the occasion of the marriage between Nongmoinu Ahongbi, an Angom princess and Khui Tompok, her parents presented her with the leirum cloth as a wedding gift. Since then, it has assumed a traditional role, and is given in Meitei marriages.
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