Oppn slams govt over absence of Nehru’s image on Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav posters

“Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav” celebrations are being held to mark the 75th year of India’s Independence.
Image grab from ICHR website.
Image grab from ICHR website.
Updated on Aug 29, 2021 04:57 AM IST
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ByUmar Sofi, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

The absence of first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s photograph from a poster of “Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav” celebrations by the Indian Council for Historical Research (ICHR) has sparked a row, with opposition parties saying the act is “petty and atrocious”.

“Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav” celebrations are being held to mark the 75th year of India’s Independence.

The poster in which Nehru’s photo was not included showcased Mahatma Gandhi, BR Ambedkar, Sardar Patel, Netaji Subhas Bose, Rajendra Prasad, Madan Mohan Malaviya, Bhagat Singh, and Hindu Mahasabha founder Vinayak Damodar Savarkar as freedom fighters. ICHR, however, said it created five other posters intended to be used on its website, and Nehru’s photo was used, but the remaining posters were not visible on its web portal because of a technical issue.

“It is not merely petty but absolutely ahistorical to celebrate Azadi by omitting the pre-eminent voice of Indian freedom, Jawaharlal Nehru. One more occasion for ICHR to disgrace itself. This is becoming a habit,” the Congress’s member of Parliament Shashi Tharoor said on Twitter.

Shiv Sena leader Priyanka Chaturvedi said the government can “never look big” by “diminishing the role of others” in the creation of an Independent India.

“Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav can only be celebrated when it acknowledges the role of all. By omitting India’s first PM, ICHR reflects its own pettiness & insecurity,” she said.

ICHR director (research and administration) Om Jee Upadhayay denied the allegations and said Nehru’s contributions to the country’s freedom struggle “cannot be ignored”. “Our team has prepared six such posters for the ongoing ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsava’. All those posters were supposed to scroll on the ICHR website. But due to some technical issue only one poster is visible on the website currently. Our technical team has been informed and it’s working on it. All other posters will soon be visible on the website. Nehru’s picture is very much there on one of these posters,” he said.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), meanwhile, said there was “nothing serious” in the omission of Nehru’s image. National BJP spokesperson Gopal Agarwal said that not just Nehru, but many other freedom fighters were missing from the poster.

“BJP values his contribution. Even, from the ramparts of the Red Fort on Independence Day, the PM paid tributes to him. No one should take this omission seriously,” Agarwal said.

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