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Wednesday, August 04, 2021

Narendra Modi birthday: How the Prime Minister made ‘gamchha masks’ fashionable

PM Narendra Modi Birthday: Prime Minister Modi turned 70 on September 17, 2020. On the occasion of his birthday, let us take a look at how he set a fashion trend with his trademark gamchha mask

By: Lifestyle Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: September 17, 2020 3:48:48 pm
narendra modi, gamchha maskModi gamchha mask is one of the latest fashion trends amid the pandemic, (Source: narendramodi/Twitter, Reuters)

At a time when the Health Ministry and other experts were urging citizens to wear homemade masks, Prime Minister Narendra Modi set an example himself when he stepped out wearing one, in May 2020. But this was not the usual cotton mask stitched at home; the Prime Minister wrapped a red-and-white Manipuri gamchha around his mouth and nose.

The “Modi gamchha mask”, as it came to be known, soon became viral on social media. Perhaps it was not much of a surprise when PM Modi used his gamchha look as his Twitter profile picture; following which several BJP leaders also changed their profile pictures. What this did, in turn, is set a fashion trend — netizens across Instagram and Twitter took to wearing gamchhas like their leader, so much so that it led to the mass-production of the “Modi gamchha”.

narendra modi, gamchha mask Narendra Modi wearing the traditional Manipuri gamchha, known as Meitei Lengyan. (Source: narendramodi/Twitter)

This is not the first time PM Modi set fashion goals. Known for his fine sartorial taste, the politician has in the past popularised gamchhas, turbans, and also what is now known as Modi jackets (half-sleeve buttoned jackets or Nehru jackets).

Read| Threads of history: The Story of PM Modi’s ‘Manipuri’ Gamchha

In the wake of designers modifying face masks into style accessories, PM Modi also showed how the protective gear could also be a unique and indigenous fashion statement — a ‘desi’ style quite different from others. Over the past few months, the Prime Minister has carefully coordinated intricate gamchhas with his attire on several occasions. Here are some instances:

In April, PM Modi was seen wearing a white gamchha with maroon border while attending a video conference meeting on COVID-19 with various Chief Ministers. Railway Minister Piyush Goyal had rightly called it “leading by example”. “Let us follow suit and protect ourselves and our fellow citizens by wearing face covers,” he had written on Twitter.

Read| This bakery made 71 ft-long ‘NaMo’ cake to celebrate PM Modi’s birthday

narendra modi, gamchha mask PM Modi donning white and red gamchha mask. (Source: piyushgoyal/twitter)

On another occasion, he was seen wearing an ochre yellow-and-green patterned gamchha mask.

narendra modi, gamchha mask Thanks to PM Modi, gamchha masks have become a fashion trend. (Source:

In May, PM Modi posted a picture on Instagram where he was seen wearing a red-and-yellow tant (traditional Bengal handloom) gamchha with intricate embroidery, while travelling to West Bengal and Odisha to review conditions after the Amphan cyclone.

narendra modi, gamchha mask PM Modi opted for a traditional Bengal tant gamchha mask when he travelled to West Bengal. (Source: narendramodi/Instagram)

Prime Narendra Modi is a fashion icon and he proved it yet again on Independence Day 2020 when he appeared at the Red Fort donning his trademark safa in orange and yellow, teamed with a white-and orange gamchha wrapped around his mouth and nose like a mask.

narendra modi, gamchha mask PM Modi on Independence Day 2020, wearing an orange and white gamchha mask. (Source: REUTERS/Adnan Abidi)

What do you think of the Modi gamchha mask?

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