On January 12, in a surprising move, Prime Minister Narendra Modi replaced Mahatma Gandhi on the covers of 2017 Khadi Udyog Calendars and diaries published by the Khadi Village Industries commission (KVIC).
Most of the employees of the KVIC were shocked to see the photo of Modi in the charkha pose. The employees observed silent protest at the Vile Parle headquarters and while wearing black bands over their mouths prayed to Mahatma Gandhi, according to media reports.
It is to be noted here that the commission’s calendars have always featured Mahatma Gandhi as he founded the Khadi movement aiming to boycott foreign goods in a non-violent protest in 1920s.
While KVIC Chairman Vinai Kumar Saxena has been quoted by a news agency as saying that PM Modi is “khadi’s biggest brand ambassador” and he has made it popular in India as well as abroad, the development has been sharply criticized on social media by opposition parties and public in general.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted, “Becoming Gandhi requires years of austerities. One cannot become Gandhi by acting to spin the Charkha, this would only ridicule them.”
Rahul Gandhi simply called it the “Mangalyaan Effect”.
An employee of KVIC on request of anonymity reportedly said that they were pained with the systematic removal of Gandhiji’s ideals and philosophy by the government.
People have demonstrated their anger on Twitter. While some calling it the biggest insult to the nation others call it a planned move of BJP.
A twitter user Karuna Sanghvi said, “This is the biggest insult to Indian nation & its values. PM Modi ‘ejects’ Gandhi in Khadi Udyog’s calendar, diary.”
“In a rare move to ensure ‘total washout’, PM #Modi ‘ejects’ #Gandhi in Khadi Udyog’s calendar, diary,” said another user Atul K Thakur.