The Indian Council for Historical Research (ICHR) has called the controversy over the issue of omitting Jawaharlal Nehru’s image from a digital poster on the ‘Azaadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’ to commemorate the 75th year of India’s Independence "unnecessary".
“We are not trying to undermine anyone’s role in the movement,” a top ICHR official said.
The official dismissed the criticism on the issue and added the poster was one of the many released as part of the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav celebrations.
“Azaadi ka Amrut Mahotsav” is a campaign launched by the government to commemorate 75 years of India’s independence.
On Friday, several leaders of the Congress party shared screenshots of the ‘Azaadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’ poster on the ICHR website, alleging that Jawaharlal Nehru's picture has been excluded.
The poster carries photographs of Mahatma Gandhi, Subhas Chandra Bose, Bhagat Singh, B R Ambedkar, Sardar Vallabhai Patel, Rajendra Prasad, Madan Mohan Malviya, and V D Savarkar.
What is Congress Saying
Congress leader Jairam Ramesh termed the move “atrocious”. “Not surprising from this regime and its toadies masquerading as scholars but atrocious nevertheless,” his party colleague and Rajya Sabha MP Jairam Ramesh added.
Congress spokesperson Gaurav Gogoi said that no country removes the first prime minister from a website about the freedom struggle and said it was “petty” and cited “injustice” in the move.
“ICHR’s removal of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and Abul Kalam Azad is petty and an injustice. India will not forget that the RSS chose to stay away from the Indian freedom movement"Congress spokesperson Gaurav Gogoi
Meanwhile, Congress MP P Chidambaram on Sunday dismissed the ICHR reasoning for not including former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s photo on its poster for Azaadi ka Amrit Mahotsav as "ludicrous".
What is ICHR Saying?
ICHR Member Secretary K Ratnam told The Sunday Express that the Council is not pitting one icon against another.
Ratnam said, “Just because one icon is not on the poster doesn’t mean we are denying them their legacy. We couldn’t have accommodated everyone. We have Bhagat Singh on the poster. Does that mean we do not acknowledge what Chandra Shekhar Azad did for the freedom struggle? Similarly, how can we deny Jawaharlal Nehru’s contributions? This is an unnecessary controversy…This is just one poster. There will be more since this is an ongoing celebration and we will try to accommodate as many freedom fighters as we can.”
(With inputs from The Indian Express and PTI)