The Vesti Proved More Eloquent Than Speech

Narendra Modi is the first Prime Minister of India who has put to great diplomatic advantage India’s “soft power” for the first time after Independence. He has silently done what the media failed to even discern. A vesti is not a mere sartorial display before the Chinese President but a peep in to India as an ancient country for the world. It showcased ancient thinkers, architects, technology, trade and the people who produced goods and services not only for the domestic market but for a flourishing export market too. Had the prime minister used speech to convey the glorious past in so many words, the media would have invented derogatory expressions to malign him as a “nationalist’ or some such fault. Seeing him in a vesti made them speechless. Mamallapuram is only one such historic site in India but there are many more dating back to before the birth of Christianity &  Islam. It speaks volumes about human virtues of a tolerant country that it accommodated other religions in its fold. The media caught in the mojo of intolerance or lynching has largely missed the expression of the soft power diplomacy as a full package exhibited in the prime minister’s use of national sartorial creation. In fact, the media does not understand the science behind wearing a vesti in coastal India like it does not know why people eat Idali in Tamil Nadu or other coastal areas or Daal-baati-choormaa in arid Rajasthan. But it certainly published the full menu card of the delicacies served to President Xi Jinping. Alas, Prime Minister, Sir! You ignored the other half of the soft power: me. I am a 100% vegetarian and can assure you that a vegetarian banquet is as rich and elaborate as your fish-egg-meat one. Even Khansamas cook wonderful dishes without using any onion or garlic, not to talk of meat etc.  Next time, I hope, you would entertain your state guest over a vegetarian banquet.

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