Baba Ramdev’s anti-corruption protests may have seen a massive letdown last month, but his comeback ‘high’ is more than evident. Over the last two days, he’s been turning heads with his fashionable footwear — a pair of traditional khadau, or Indian clogs, with prominent platform heels. The custom-made pair makes him three inches taller than his 5ft 7inch frame. While his followers say he has always worn such footwear, it is only now that the thousands who’re on the streets are noticing it.
His team, though, says he doesn’t do it for style. “There is no fashion involved in the heeled khadau that Swamiji wears. This is the height of simplicity and economy,” says his spokesperson, SK Tijarawala.
Some are also questioning the irony of the heels, given Ramdev recommends special yoga asanas to increase height naturally, even in adults. But, Tijarawala says this choice has nothing to do with health or height. “He’s been wearing these for the last 25 years, after he was inspired by his guru Acharya Pradyumanji Maharaj, who wore the same footwear.” Designers also have their brows raised at how well-heeled a ‘saint’ can be. Footwear designer Swati Mehrotra says, “I believe it’s not an original khadau. Rather, it’s a modern clog. Real khadau is a pair of flat piece of wood in the shape of feet.”
Celebrity stylist Rishi Raj says, “Maybe this is Ramdev’s way of exploring metrosexuality? He certainly seems to be getting in touch with his feminine side more often lately (remember the salwar-kameez disguise)? Maybe his yogasanas are not helping anymore in his desire to feel ‘elevated’.”
Adman Prahlad Kakkar jokes, “He wants to be bigger and taller than Anna Hazare. Or that particular day, he was in a hurry to hog the limelight before Anna and, thus wore wrong footwear. Had he worn his salwar kameez, the heels would have been hidden.” Ad guru Alyque Padamsee says, “I think anyone who tries to wear or do things differently is trying to project a fashion statement. God bless him, and he can go on to make all the money on them!”