The Gandhi cap is no longer white; each party is giving it the colour of its flag. For the BJP, it is saffron with a green band while the JSP has made it green
During the freedom struggle, the simple white khadi cap, which was popularised by Mahatma Gandhi, not only became a movement but also was able to make a strong political statement. It came to be termed Gandhi cap.
In those days, whoever wore the Gandhi cap was recognised as a nationalist. It was worn as a symbol of resentment against the British Raj.
The cap was even worn by followers of the Mahatma in South Africa.
Post Independence, many leaders, across party lines, such as Jawaharlal Nehru, Lal Bahadur Shastri, and Moraji Desai wore the cap. But, off late, it did fade away to a great extent, only to be revived by Anna Hazare. And it was then taken over by Arvind Kejriwal and workers of his Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
The Gandhi cap saw its re-emergence, as AAP workers made it a part of their political attire and statement.
But now, in the present election campaign, it appears to be latest political fad, as workers of the BJP and the Jai Samaikyandhra Party (JSP) have also started to don the Gandhi cap. But it is no longer the white khadi cap, but each party has dyed the cap in tune with the colour of its flag.
While for the BJP the hue is all saffron with a green band, the JSP has dyed it all green.
Moreover, the material has shifted from crisp khadi to 3mm synthetic foam and the colours and party symbols are being dyed by screen printers.
“Khadi caps can be a costly affair. The political parties need them in bulk and made in ‘use and throw’ material, and that is why we have used the foam. And the cost of each cap varies between Rs.5 and Rs.7,” says a screen printer.
Well, the political parties are trying to make a fashion statement, but only time can tell whether the newer version of the Gandhi cap can stir a similar sentiment.