Demand for Raj turbans go up with poll campaigns

Artist Pawan Vyas, poses with miniatures of Rajasthani turbans, in Bikaner on March 29. PTI

As high-voltage campaigning for the Lok Sabha kicks off, the sale of traditional Rajasthani turbans have gone up by 30% to 40%, with their popularity extending to even the neighbouring states.

Both the saffron-and-green turban, for the BJP, and the tricolour one, for the Congress, are in great demand.

The manufacturers of saafas (turban) in Jodhpur and Jaipur are getting bulk orders from Rajasthan and states such as Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Bihar, Punjab and Madhya Pradesh. Hundreds of turbans are being supplied everyday.

"Every time there are elections in these states or the Lok Sabha polls are happening, the demand goes up. This time, we are getting pre-orders for hundreds of saafas from both the BJP and Congress. Whether it's PM Modi or Rahul Gandhi, the party workers prefer to welcome them wearing saafas," Sanjay Jain, a saafa manufacturer in Jodhpur told DH.


Sanjay Jain a noted manufacturer of Rajasthani turbans sitting in his shop situated at Swati Gate in Jodhpur. DH Photo

Like Jain's shop, the dozens of other headgear shops at the Swasti Gate market of Jodhpur city are also receiving bulk orders.

Leaders will be wearing the headgear made from eight to nine metres of malmal cotton while filing nominations, during door-to-door campaigns, election rallies.

While the saafa symbolises pride and valour, it also keeps one safe from the scorching heat.

"The demand is high this time because the elections will be held in April and May, which will see a heat wave. The cotton headgear will protect the workers and supporters at the rally," Jain said.

The saafa dealers attribute the popularity of the saafas to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

"Modiji wears turbans for every rally, as well as on Republic Day and Independence day. Those who follow him as an icon have also developed a taste for saafas", Atul Sharma, a turban dealer from Jaipur, said.

Apart from the turbans inspired by party flags, turbans with criss-crossed lines in different shades of the same colour, along with a few in red and deep green, are also in demand.

This time around, the shopkeepers have also kept special turbans for women leaders.

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