Prime Minister Narendra Modi triggered a flurry of reactions after reports emerged that his photograph had replaced an iconic shot of Mahatma Gandhi with his spinning wheel, on the new Khadi Udyog merchandise.
The PM’s photograph — which was published on the cover pages of the Khadi Village Industries Commission’s (KVIC) 2017 calendar and diary — shows Modi weaving khadi on a large ‘charkha’, in the same classic pose as Gandhi.
The decision, however, did not sit well with everyone, with leaders from opposition parties taking digs at the Prime Minister on Twitter.
The Mangalyaan effecthttps://t.co/NnkbJ4i7vx— Office of RG (@OfficeOfRG)January 13, 2017
Gandhiji would’ve welcomed it, also opposed his photo on notes.
We should welcome it too. Less hypocrisy.https://t.co/q1fVI2RYmA— Yogendra Yadav (@_YogendraYadav)January 12, 2017
Mahatma Gandhi sacrificed started Swadeshi movement and wore only khadi
While Modi ji is obsessed with foreign cloths#चरखा_चोर_मोदी pic.twitter.com/Z2PD0qZ2AP— Delhi Congress (@WithCongDelhi)January 13, 2017
Several KVIC workers too expressed dissatisfaction over the change.
“We are pained at this systematic easing out of Mahatma Gandhi’s ideas, philosophy and ideals by the government,” a senior KVIC staffer had said, requesting anonymity.
KVIC chairman Vinai Kumar Saxena, however, on Thursday defended the decision, saying such deviations was “not unusual”. “The entire khadi industry is based on Gandhiji’s philosophy, ideas and ideals, he is the soul of KVIC, so there is no question of ignoring him,” Saxena had said to the media on Thursday.
“(Modi) is khadi’s biggest brand ambassador, and his vision matches KVIC’s, of ‘Make In India’ by making villages self-sufficient, ‘skill development’ by generating employment among the rural masses, infuse modern technology for khadi weaving, innovations and marketing. Plus, the PM is a youth icon,” he added.
“Spirit is more important than the image,” the chairman tweeted late on Thursday.
KVIC calendar & dairy without Gandhiji’s pics have been issued earlier too.Spirit is more important than the image.@PMOIndia,@ashokepandit. pic.twitter.com/57ksjFD1LQ— Chairman KVIC (@ChairmanKvic)January 12, 2017
How can anyone replace the father of the nation? One can only emulate his action.The picture is a message of our re-dedication to Khadi.— Chairman KVIC (@ChairmanKvic)January 12, 2017
Some Twitter users were vocally critical of the decision.
Today I take a pledge not to buy Khadi products till such time #Modi apologize to Nation for replacing Gandhi ji photo by his own photo.— Kumar (@RamUK_R)January 13, 2017
Photo badalne se na Gandhi ban sakte ho na Mahatma. Shame. India never had such a disgustingly attention seeking PMhttps://t.co/l7A508Yehz— Shabnam hashmi (@ShabnamHashmi)January 12, 2017
Chor modi, first you took the dress of Nehru, then his jacket and now you have the audacity of replacing Gandhi from Khadi#चरखा_चोर_मोदी pic.twitter.com/AIiphqFzki— KilaFateh #INC (@KilaFateh)January 13, 2017
#चरखा_चोर_मोदी U can’t replace Mahatma & neither u can remove the picture of Mahatma from our heart,heart of Indiahttps://t.co/QfQHGeKGkX— seema (@seemaadhikari)January 13, 2017
While several others tweeted in support.
Time to remind KVISC protesting @narendramodi pics in calendar that because of @PMOIndia we buy 6 to 7 Khadi dress last 2 yrs @bjpsamvad— Viswanathan Iyer (@giviswa)January 13, 2017
Name one politician who has marketed Khadi more than the current PM; these losers can only make noise #चरखा_चोर_मोदी #NaMoIsKhadisFace— AM (@iamamenon)January 13, 2017
Modi who revived Khadi, gave respect to brand & helped so many poor workers live good life is called #चरखा_चोर_मोदी by Congress morons!— Common Sense (@CommonSense___)January 13, 2017