In the line of events with advertising political personalities, surrogate advertising has surfaced in this election season. Surrogate advertising is a term used to describe promotions not directly linked with the product being promoted. Common examples may include bacardi music CDs or tuborg club soda. Somehow, the ruling party in India got grip of this term and used Khadi India, a govt. run MSME to promote the party leader and Prime Minister sh. Narendra Modi.
On march 26th, the Communist Party of India wrote to the Election Commission alleging BJP of using state undertakings like Khadi India to promote its PM candidate. CPI referred to a Khadi India jacket under brand name ‘modi jacket’ and added that such advertising is a breach of Model Code of Conduct. Branding of such jacket has not only offended the opposition parties but also shifted focus from the face of Khadi India, the spinning wheel and Mahatma Gandhi. This not the first of naming jackets after political figures, infact, the buttoned up sleeveless jackets are famously knows as Nehru jackets in India. So, the naming of a jacket after a seated PM is not as much controversial as using this in face of elections and to breach MCoC.
If a private ltd company had done the same, I wouldn’t have sweat to write this. The focuses of Khadi India are to promote the village industries, encourage MSMEs, generate employment and promote a fabric closely interwoven with the cultural heritage and the independence movement of India. With modernization and globalisation, Khadi is already suffering a loss of recognition. More and more people are turning to big, flashy fashion brands with non-Indian roots and less and less people are using traditional khadi clothes today; my generation finds it more comfortable to sport a skinny Levi’s in hot humid summers than a handwoven cotton kurta. People take notice when you wear a kurta and trouble you with gaze when you pair it with a dhoti. *From my saddened heart and experiences with rancid Indian society* If it goes on like this, institutions like Khadi India will be reduced to nothing more than a medium to promote Prime Ministers.