UPA starts lining up national icons on Net

  • Zia Haq, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Nov 12, 2013 01:23 IST

Maulana Abul Kalam Azad — Islamic theologian, star of the freedom movement, the youngest president of the Congress, opposer of the idea of Pakistan and India’s first education minister — made his online debut posthumously.

The UPA government on Monday unveiled an archival website of national importance on his life and times. Made in 10 days flat, and just in time some would say, so that political accusations on neglecting his heritage don’t come flying thick and fast.

Amid a politically-charged battle between the BJP and Congress over the legacy of Vallabhbhai Jhaverbhai Patel, the Bismarck of India, the UPA plans to officially honour several architects of independent India with such websites. Jawaharlal Nehru, the country’s first PM, will be the next to get a national website on November 14, his birthday.

Recalling Azad, minority affairs minister K. Rahman Khan launched a sharp attack on those who suspect “Muslims’ loyalty”. “Azad was a champion of Hindu-Muslim unity. These days, people pose questions like are you Muslim or Indian? Which comes first?”

On September 3, PM Manmohan Singh had launched a similar website for Mahatma Gandhi. But it wasn’t decided then that more of such websites for other leaders would be in line.

The project for commemorative websites on the country’s founding fathers is being overseen by Sam Pitroda, advisor to PM, who said websites for Patel and other leaders could be in the offing too.

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