Revived by Anna Hazare, the ‘Gandhi topi’, became a glamorous political symbol after the emergence of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
Now, the simple headgear, which is a symbol of dissatisfaction, protest and change, seems to have inspired the staggering Tibetan struggle.
Activists of the Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC) on Saturday wore the white, boat-shaped cap inscribed with message ‘Free Tibet’, as they embarked on a 600km ‘Uprising March’ from here to Delhi, protesting the brutal Communist rule in China.
“The Tibetan struggle is inspired by the peaceful Indian freedom movement spearheaded by Mahatma (Gandhi). The ‘topi’ is symbolic of Gandhi and peace,” said Sonam Yougyal, who was leading on the first day.
Kalimpong TYC head Yougyal said the Gandhi cap saw the AAP “sail through” Delhi polls and form a government. “It has become a symbol of change. We are struggling for a free country, and such things keep our hope alive,” said Yougyal.
Another TYC activist Tsewang Dolam said the ‘Gandhi topi’ was inspiring the young exile generation, which had seen the change it brought in India’s national capital.
Besides, for the Tibetan activists it is also a “thanksgiving” gesture of exile community toward Indians for their generous hospitality and kindness for over 50 years, as for the Tibetans, their clothing has always remained a way to spread the message of peace and freedom for their country.
Be it any season, Tibetans and their supporters across the country can be seen wearing clothes inscribed with the slogan ‘Free Tibet’. Apart from casual wear, their hand-woven socks, sweaters, gloves and caps are famous among foreigners who support the Tibetan cause.