Updated: August 29, 2021 10:29:21 am
The Congress on Saturday criticised the Indian Council for Historical Research (ICHR) for omitting Jawaharlal Nehru’s image from a digital poster on the ‘Azaadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’ to commemorate the 75th year of India’s Independence.
The Council, on the other hand, called the controversy “unnecessary” and said there was no ulterior motive behind its choice of freedom fighters for the poster. ICHR Member Secretary K Ratnam told The Sunday Express that the Council is not into pitting one icon against another.
The controversy began on Friday when several leaders of the Congress party shared screenshots of the ‘Azaadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’ poster on the ICHR website. 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.
Congress leader Jairam Ramesh termed the move “atrocious” while party spokesperson Gaurav Gogoi said no country removes the first prime minister from a website about the freedom struggle and said it was “petty” and “injustice”.
“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!” Lok Sabha MP Shashi Tharoor posted on Twitter.
“Not surprising from this regime and its toadies masquerading as scholars but atrocious nevertheless,” his party colleague and Rajya Sabha MP Jairam Ramesh added.
“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,” the party’s deputy leader in Lok Sabha Gaurav Gogoi said.
When asked for a comment, Ratnam told this newspaper, “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.”