Cap-tain Marvel: Meet the Designer Behind PM Modi's Uttarakhandi Cap

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Cap-tain Marvel: Meet the Designer Behind PM Modi’s Uttarakhandi Cap

| Updated: March 12, 2022 01:14

Day after the Bharatiya Janata Party’s stupendous performance in the assembly elections of four states – Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Manipur, and Goa – Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday held a massive roadshow in Gujarat’s Ahmedabad. Donning an Uttarakhandi cap seemingly in an ode to the state given the party’s remarkable performance quickly became the talk of the town.

The PM last wore the cap on Republic Day in the midst of a charged election campaign ahead of the assembly polls. The cap also known as pahadi cap, Kumaoni cap or Garhwali cap was made popular as a pride of the region by Sameer Shukla, a designer from Mussoorie; it was ordered by both the Congress and BJP as a mass appeal measure before polling.

PM Modi on Republic Day wore the Uttarakhandi cap

Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel and BJP state president CR Patil, along with Prime Minister Modi were seen wearing the cap at Friday’s roadshow. It was saffron-coloured with BJP embossed on it.

Read Also: PM Modi plans 2022 Gujarat Elections With State Leadership

So then what is the difference between Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose’s cap, the Uttarakhandi cap and the cap worn by the prime minister today?

The cap that Netaji wore was a simple khaki cap without any decorations.

The Uttarakhandi style cap worn by the Prime Minister on January 26 had a four-colour stripe that represented earth, sky, life and nature and also featured the state flower of Uttarakhand ‘Brahma Kamal’ which is offered to Lord Shiva in Kedarnath as it is considered the most auspicious.

The cap worn by the PM and other BJP leaders during Friday’s roadshow was saffron and sported the party’s logo.

A ‘non-political’ man
Shukla, who designed the Republic Day cap, says he is not affiliated with the BJP, Congress or any other party in any way. “They are promoting this cap as a symbol of Uttarakhand culture. I wanted to promote the traditional art form of stitching, and at the same time motivate the younger generation to take up the traditional craft,” he says.
Ever since visuals and photos of PM Modi wearing Shukla’s design went viral, in Mussoorie Shukla began being inundated with calls and queries about the cap. Since then, the cap has been ordered by both Congress and the BJP.

Artist Sameer Shukla, who designed the ‘Uttarakhand cap’

From an artist’s studio to PM’s head
Shukla says he was informed that the prime minister wanted to wear the cap a few days before Republic Day. Samples of his designs with different colours and sizes were sent to the PMO.

When asked about how his designs caught the PM’s fancy, he says he doesn’t have a definitive answer but that he would always post about his work on Twitter, MyGov and other platforms. Their stock of 10,000 caps, made over the last three years, is sold out, with the maximum sales happening after the PM wore the cap. The caps were made by local artisans, and the aim was to empower them financially.

Local artisans making ‘Uttarakhandi Cap’

The late Chief of Defense Staff General Bipin Rawat, who also hailed from Uttarakhand, was the first to give recognition to the cap and had even sent Shukla a letter of appreciation for designing and promoting it. National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, who also traces his roots to the state, has also sported it on many occasions. The Congress and the BJP, the two leading parties in the state, acknowledge the cap’s significance.

Read Also: PM Narendra Modi Addresses 1.5 lakh Elected Members Of Panchayati Raj in Gujarat; Condemns System Of Sarpanch Pati

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