Prime Minister Narendra Modi sprang a surprise on his fans and critics alike on Friday saying that his clothes were not made by any fashion designers.
“I don’t know why people think I have a fashion designer who styles me. I only dress simple and sober,” Modi said in reply to a question by a student at an interactive programme to mark Teacher’s Day.
The Prime Minister also narrated how his short-sleeved kurta evolved in his childhood days.
“I had to wash my clothes myself and full-sleeved shirts would take more time to clean, so I shortened off the sleeves. It made my work easier and I started wearing more short-sleeved clothes.”
He said as Gujarat has moderate climate, the half-sleeved kurta “kept him cool and he could easily carry them.”
Modi said he always liked to dress well, and being from a modest family, there was no money to get his clothes ironed. He overcame this by putting smouldering charcoal in a round bottomed vessel, a lota, and used that as a pressing iron.
He also told students how he used to whiten his canvas shoes in his school days. “I used to take chalk pieces left behind by the teachers and rub it on my shoes to whiten them,” Modi said.
He said he did believe that one should dress well for any occasion.
Modi’s dress sense have often come in for praise, with media reports saying that he sported kurtas styled by Ahmedabad-based men’s clothing store Jade Blue.
Even US President Barack Obama mentioned this during his visit to India in January saying, “The Prime Minister is a style icon. I would also like to wear Modi kurta.”
It is the second year that the Prime Minister is interacting with students on the occasion of Teachers’ Day, which celebrates the birthday of India’s second president Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan.