India's PM would like books instead of bouquets

Narendra Modi leafing through a book Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption 'A book... becomes part of the family," Mr Modi has said.

Politicians may be used to bouquets and brickbats, but India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi is urging his state governments to lose the flowers presented to him when he visits.

The Ministry of Home Affairs this week told states that "No bouquet may be presented to the Prime Minister during his tours within India," the India.com website reported.

At most, it added, the prime minister hopes for just a single flower, along with "a handspun or hand-woven handkerchief, or a book".

This is not the first time Mr Modi has advocated books instead of bouquets for visitors.

On a radio programme he hosted in June he said: "The life span of a bouquet is very short. You receive it in your hand for a moment and then abandon it. But when you present a book, it becomes a part of the household, a part of the family."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Yellow roses may mean warm feelings but they probably leave Mr Modi cold

The premier's promotion of India's handspun cloth industry, known as khadi, harks back to Mahatma Gandhi's opposition of British-backed industrialisation in the country.

It was advocated as a way for India to be self-reliant and the industry is still promoted and protected in India, as a symbol of nationalism.

The Times of India, citing sources behind the idea, said promoting handspun gifts would help provide employment to the needy.

See also: Revitalising India's khadi or 'Gandhi cloth'

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The government exempted Khadi from goods and services tax in July to help spinners and weavers

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