Prime Minister Narendra Modi has replaced father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi as the 2017 face of the government’s traditional handloom and cotton industry. The image of the bespectacled Gandhi, wearing a loincloth and sitting cross-legged at a spinning wheel, is one of India’s most iconic and has long been used to promote the khadi, or homespun cotton, industry. The government-run Khadi Village Industries Commission (KVIC) defended its decision to use a photo of Modi, sitting in an almost identical pose while spinning cotton, on the cover of its 2017 calendar and diary. “He is khadi’s biggest brand ambassador,” chairman Vinai Kumar Saxena told media.
Gandhi’s espousal of the Khadi Movement and boycott of British clothes and other merchandise was central to India’s freedom movement. Gandhi’s boycott movement was a master stroke which shook the foundations of the British Raj.
The Sangh Parivar to which Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s right wing BJP belongs had nothing to do with freedom movement. Some of the tallest leaders wrote letters of apology to the British government and offered to support British Raj in India.
In fact it was Nathuram Godse one of the members of the Sangh Parivar that killed Gandhi.
Modi replacing Gandhi and becoming a poster boy of Khadi has shocked and angered Gandhians and secular minded people who actively fought in the freedom movement against the British. They view it as a right wing effort to re-write history and more importantly as an entrenchment of fascism by replacing the image of Gandhi with a demagogue who has the history of Gujarat riots of 2002 behind him and most recently the ill conceived demonetisation at the behest of global capitalist interests and his crony capitalists, costing the lives of over hundred ordinary Indian citizens.
Social media reacted with memes ridiculing Modi on this coup d’état. Here are some images.
Images courtesy https://www.facebook.com/FilterCopy/