Even if you don’t know the details of the Lokpal Bill, you can literally wear your message on your sleeve. Timing their launch with Independence Day, a T-shirt company has introduced a line of ‘anti-corruption’ slogan tees.
"We’ve had these designs with us for some time now, but we wanted the launch to coincide with Independence Day. Also, Anna Hazare’s fast was also scheduled to begin on August 16, so it made sense to introduce it into the market then," says Vimal Mariwala, in-charge, operations and sales, Tantra T-shirts. "The youth are actively taking part in anti-corruption drives, and the response we’ve received from our partners is extremely positive. Unfortunately, today is a holiday, but the tees hit the stores tomorrow," he adds.
One look at the collection and it’s clear that activist Anna Hazare is the star, with his Gandhian countenance dominating the imagery. Mariwala laughs, saying, "Unfortunately, Baba Ramdev didn’t have the same effect. We felt that Anna brings something to the table in terms of his honesty, and it’s obvious that he’s become a cult hero to the youth."
Point out that despite the buzz surrounding it, too few people actually know what the Lokpal Bill is about, and he responds, "True, but we can do our bit to spread awareness. I don’t know if it’s fashionable in today’s times to side with the whole anti-corruption drive," admitting that they’re still not sure whether political posturing is a saleable concept. "I hope we continue to do similar stuff though,’ Mariwala says, adding, "Even if we don’t do so well on the retail front."
Immortalised on a T-shirt, Hazare joins the ranks of other youth icons such as Mahatma Gandhi, US President Barack Obama and South American revolutionary Che Guevara. So who ranks highest in terms of popularity? "Che has a revolutionary feel and is always a favourite. But being Indian, I think Gandhi is the leader by far. He’s the man with the message."
Buy your own for Rs 395 onwards at any Tantra retail outlet