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Meet The Mumbai Businesswoman Who Makes Narendra Modi Soft Toys For A Living

She says she was drawn by his charisma.

16/09/2016 5:32 PM IST | Updated 16/09/2016 5:57 PM IST
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Courtesy Amita Gupta
Amita Gupta, who makes the Modi soft toy.

It was more than two years ago, when Narendra Modi was addressing rallies across the country during his prime ministerial campaign, that Amita Gupta remembers being struck by his charisma. The Mumbai businesswoman, who runs a toy manufacturing unit from home, decided she wanted to create a toy that would look like Modi.

"All of a sudden I thought to develop it," she told HuffPost India over phone from Mumbai. "He was doing a lot of rallies at the time and had a lot of charisma."

She conceptualised the design and fabric of the doll, choosing to go with his trademark kurta-pyjama and an orange Nehru jacket look, even adding the lotus logo that is the symbol of the Bharatiya Janata Party. "He was not prime minister yet, and we released it before election in April or May," she said.

Courtesy Amita Gupta
Amita Gupta (left) making one of the Modi dolls with her staff at her toy manufacturing unit.

The Modi doll was an instant hit, and because she would sell them out so quickly, Gupta would be forced to take them off the websites she sold them at, until new pieces could be made. Each piece takes two days to make, she told me.

"It is a time-taking piece," she said. "We stop taking orders from time to time." She runs the toy manufacturing unit with the help of four or five other women who work for her.

Her company, AMI Enterprises, has sold about 300-400 such dolls in the past two years, under the banner of "Tickles Toys", she said.

The Modi toy is made with a combination of weaving cloth and pile cloth, and filled with poly-fibre stuffing, which makes it very soft. It can be cleaned in a washing machine.

A description of the toy on the Amazon India website said that the 40 centimetre-long doll was "soft and cuddly" and was "huggable and loveable for someone special".

Amazon India

The product description on Snapdeal suggests that the toy is meant for boys and girls who are above 12 years of age.

The bizarre description of the toy on Amazon India -- "instil a love for wildlife and introduce your children to the world of animals with this furry little plush toy" -- created quite a stir recently.

Gupta's husband, Raju, who is an attorney, helps her out from time to time. "We are selling the toy at a nominal price to promote his image," he told HuffPost India.

Gupta, who started the company back in 1993, said she wanted to utilise her free time at home, which she said would have been otherwise spent "sleeping for a couple of hours" in the afternoon. At the time, the psychology postgraduate was a homemaker. She had also done courses in playing the tabla and dance. At first, she sold her toys in the wholesale market and to corporates, later moving on to selling her company's products on e-commerce websites like Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal, and eBay.

She is originally from Agra, and has a 16-year-old son.

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