Polls send safa sales soaring | india | Hindustan Times
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Polls send safa sales soaring

The Congress leaders want safas to match the colours of their party flag, the BJP leaders demand saffron safas while the BSP biggies want blue ones to match their party colour.

india Updated: Dec 03, 2008 00:30 IST
Srinand Jha

It’s all on the head, killing the blues of the meltdown, literally.

Ask Sher Singh, and he’ll tell you. This entrepreneur in election-ready Rajasthan doesn’t even have the time to think of the global financial crisis: He is too busy trying to meet deadlines for orders of safas, the traditional Rajasthani headgear.

The Congress leaders want safas to match the colours of their party flag, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders demand saffron safas while the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) biggies want blue ones to match their party colour.

Safas are part of the rich tradition of Rajasthan, once the land of rajas.

Since Singh’s father set up his first safa shop — the Jodhpur Safa House — 60 years ago, the family has thrived on the steady growth in demand for the headgear. Today, Sher Singh has over half a dozen safa centres, 185 persons on the rolls and sub-lets jobs to hundreds of others.

“The safa lends maturity and a distinguished look. In the past, an individual’s position in society and his caste were signified by the colour of his safa. Almost everyone has taken to the fad now,” Singh said.

Bollywood’s filmwallahs, non-resident Rajasthanis, schools (Mayo College, Ajmer, for example), corporate houses, tycoons… Singh’s list of clients is long.

“But the elections are the real money churners,” he said.

Priced between Rs 350 and Rs 3,000 apiece, in this season alone, I expect to sell safas worth about Rs 50-60 lakh,” Singh said.

The pièce de résistance is the safa studded with gold-leaf work, pearls or diamonds — designed for top leaders of political parties.