The BJP is undermining the country’s founding principles

FOR GENERATIONS the high-collared waistcoats beloved of Indian politicians have looked much the same. But are they Nehru jackets or, as salesmen now label them, Modi jackets? The ones popularised by India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, tended to come in plain charcoal, ivory or, at a daring limit, a rusty maroon. Narendra Modi, the current prime minister, inclines instead to vigorous patterns or solid, bright pastels. The particular hue he favours, the one that appears in countless posters touting every official project from e-government to subsidised cooking gas, is orange. The message is unsubtle. Orange is not only a stripe on India’s tricolour flag; it also evokes the saffron robes of Hindu priests, and so symbolises a renaissance of India’s ancient faith. In effect, Mr Modi has rebranded a standard item of apparel in keeping with his Hindu-nationalist political project.