| Canada | 13 Feb 2017 | Asia Samachar
Jagmeet Singh, the 38-years-old criminal defense lawyer turn politician, has been making waves in Canadian politics. We are not talking about some gurdwara level politics. He’s in for the big time – national politics, currently serving as the Deputy Leader of the Ontario New Democratic Party.
In fact, rumour has it that he may just be the new face of Canada’s New Democratic Party.
That would be interesting to see. On the other side of Canada’s politics you have the ‘bad ass’ defence minister Harjit Singh Sajjan. See here.
In a recent article in the GQ magazine, it noted Jagmeet’s custom-designed suits that ‘look sharp as hell’.
“I felt that if people are going to stare at me, I might as well give them something to look at,” he told the magazine.
Jagmeet, of course, carries with him more than just a dashing style.
“But why should you care about a guy that represents a suburban district outside of Toronto?” the article asks. “Because rumor has it that Singh will soon make the jump into federal politics and run for leadership of the left-wing New Democratic Party of Canada, ready to take on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party government.”
It also noted that BuzzFeed had recently anointed him the “most stylish politician in Canada by like a million kilometers.” He’s the first turban-wearing Sikh to sit in Queen’s Park; he commutes to work by bike, often featured on his Instagram (35k followers).
The magazine asked him how he got into politics. He brought Sikhi into the picture.
In response to the question, he says: “My Sikh spirituality also influences my political style. We strongly believe in social justice as an element of our founding philosophy—that there is one energy and that we are all connected, kind of like the force. So if I see someone else suffering, as a Sikh I see that as me suffering. There’s this morality that flows from this idea that we are one and connected, and we celebrate diversity and people of different backgrounds, cultures, and religions. At the end of our meditations, our mantra that we repeat roughly means ‘we wish the betterment of all humankind.’ That motivates me to help build a world that’s fair and equal.”
The magazine also asked him how did your personal style become such a part of your political style? This was his response:
So throughout my life, I realized that people would stare at me because I stood out. Some may feel awkward about that. Being stared at makes you feel self-conscious. I felt that if people are going to stare at me, I might as well give them something to look at. [laughs] I saw it as a chance to transform an awkward situation into an opportunity to show people who I really am. I wanted to show that I was confident and sure of myself—that I wasn’t afraid of who I was. That confidence fought off some of the stereotypes and prejudice I encountered, and I started to develop my style more when I realized I could tear down some of these stereotypes.
A beard and a turban sometimes conjure up negative associations, but if you see someone with a lime colored, bright orange, or pink turban, it disarms people’s stereotypical notions of this image and it disarms people from those stereotypes. It became a way for me to extend my platform as a politician. Because I was considered stylish, with these colorful turbans and well-cut suits and showing myself as confident person, I could use that as a tool to talk about things like unfairness, injustice, poverty, and inequality in the public sphere.
See the full interview with GQ, entitled ‘A Chat with Jagmeet Singh, the Incredibly Well-Dressed Rising Star in Canadian Politics’, here.
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