Days after Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government replaced the traditional name for rainbow, ‘Ramdhenu’ or Lord Ram’s bow, in state’s school textbooks with ‘Rongdhenu’, the Chief Minister today attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for getting his “charkha” spinning image featured on the 2017 calendar of Khadi India.
A major row broke yesterday when some workers of Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) protested over the missing Mahatma Gandhi’s image on the calendar in Mumbai. The workers said they were protesting as Mahatma Gandhi was the driving force of the Khadi movement in India. Congress and other opposition parties soon latched on to the workers’ protest, accusing Modi of trying to kill Gandhi’s legacy.
Commenting on the replacement of Gandhi’s image with that of Modi, Mamata Banerjee tweeted, “The great symbol of charkha and Mahatma Gandhi now gets replaced by Modi babu.” In another tweet, Mamata asked, “In the calendar and diary of Khadi (KVIC) 2017 Modi replaced Mahatma Gandhi ji. Gandhiji is the Father of the Nation. Modi ji what???.”
In the calendar and diary of Khadi (KVIC) 2017 Modi replaced Mahatma Gandhi ji. Gandhiji is the Father of the Nation. Modi ji what??? 2/2
— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) January 13, 2017
Incidentally, Mamata’s comment has come just two days after it was reported that West Bengal government has replaced ‘Ram’ with ‘Rong’ in the traditional name of the rainbow in school textbooks. The decision by the West Bengal Council for Higher Education was a clear attempt to secularise the word to oppose the alleged saffronisation of textbooks in BJP-ruled states.
While Modi’s appearance on Khadi calendar instead of Mahatma Gandhi has surprised many, the KVIC chairman Vinay Kumar told CNN-News18 that Gandhi’s image did not appear on the cover of the calendar at least five times in past — 1996, 2002, 2005, 2011, 2013, 2016. Justifying the use of Modi’s image on the cover, Kumar said it shows that highest level of the government, including the PM, is committed towards Khadi. Besides, Khadi sales have improved by 34% under PM Modi, he said.
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Sources told ANI that there is no rule in KVIC that only Mahatma Gandhi’s photo must be printed on the calendar. They added that the controversy over Modi’s photo on the diary calendar is baseless and unnecessary.
In contrast, Mamata Banerjee has not yet said as to why ‘Ram’ was replaced in ‘Ramdhenu’, even as language experts say that there is no traditional Bengali word as ‘Rongdhenu’. It was first used to replace ‘Ram’ from ‘Ramdhenu’ in Bangladesh.