The Amar Jawaan T-shirt - A Tribute



Micro-Investor: Naren Venugopal
Sold 3 of 501
In the western world individuals, or communities at the local level, find a dignified way to eloquently express their feelings and sentiments on a subject of larger interest WITHOUT making an over-hyped and melodramatic story about it. We desis can learn that ... we can learn how to let the content of the story, and not the story or the storyteller, take centre-stage.

Everytime there's a talk in the popular media in our drama-obsessed country of a shaheed army jawaan - it's loaded with mourn, grief, and a whole deal of pity for the family members left behind. Not all the time, but that's what makes the core content mostly. Be it a usual news clip on a prominent news channel, or a whole episode of "Satyamev Jayate" dedicated to it - it has to get the TRP, and so it has to be emotional, and appeal to the masses. The masses, of course, have preserved and borrowed their antics from the same dramatic DNA, so the audience is willing to cry at a moment's notice.

I find all this pretty lame. I like to give them a "Bhagat Singh" treatment. Beat your chest for them with pride and gratitude, not with mourning. Don't give them an emotional attention, just a grateful acknowledgement will be enough for those men of all men.

Of course, a t-shirt has been playing in my mind for so, so long. I designed this t-shirt in 2015, and then I waited. I waited for the opportune moment to release this t-shirt. I didn't want to release this t-shirt whenever there was a news of another shaheed, or a few shaheeds, being added to the list. That would have looked like me cashing in upon the event, the emotion. I also waited to let the natural inner conviction find ground in me that my motivation to do this t-shirt is not money, but just what I do t-shirts for: expression.

Of course, there is money involved in it. You buy something from me which I had bought from someone else. Someone in this had made profits. I don't think that's evil. Between the creation (bramha-saraswati) and the dissolution (mahesh-kali) of everything comes a period of sustenance (vishnu-lakshmi), for which money is a necessity.

Finally, in February 2017, I released this t-shirt.

I had spoken with my langotiya yaar, Lt. Deepak Moharana, to understand the various ranks in the Army, because I was pretty clear right from Day 1 of my designing process what this t-shirt would convey. It simply had to say that the "Amar Jawaan" is the highest state an armyman man can ever reach while serving the nation. All the ranks in the Indian Army are mentioned on the front of the t-shirt, with nothing as prominent as "Amar Jawaan".

The back depicts the silhouette of the Helmet/Rifle at India Gate's Amar Jawaan Jyoti, where I have had the immense honour to spend some time ... once when I was very young.

My friend, Naren, who plies his trade at Cognizant in Japan - and whose father is an armyman - jumped at the idea of him micro-investing in this t-shirt. He has one buyer of this t-shirt already - and that's me. I rarely wear t-shirts that I design, but this one, I will any day. I won't be wearing this t-shirt due to some misplaced sense of patriotism that I want to show-off. For that, I can spend a thousand bucks and buy a Team India jersey.

I'll be wearing this t-shirt because no amount of gratefulness can help me get over the fact that someone else I have no business with is holding a rifle at the border while, and so that, I can hold the remote on my couch. That is immense. Worst of all - that someone else won't even ask me to repay him in any form. This is crazy shit.
Rs. 751