Mahatma Gandhi’s ‘charkha’ was an “instrument of empowerment” but has now become a “fashion accessory” to gain credibility, his great grandson Tushar Gandhi today said amid the outrage over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s photo in the calendar and the diary of KVIC. “One must remember that Bapu’s ‘charkha’ (spinning wheel) was an instrument of production, an instrument of empowerment for the weak and the poor and also a weapon in the fight for freedom. But now it has become a photographic prop, a fashion accessory to gain credibility,” he said.
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Gandhi said now it has become only a “prop” to take pictures with.”The issue brings to my mind lines from a song in the film ‘Balak’,” he said. “In the song, the child tells Bapu, ‘Sun le bapu yeh paigam, meree chitthi tere nam, chitthi mein sabse pehle, likhata tujhko ram ram… And, then goes on to say something, which is very timely, very pertinent today — ‘Teree lakdi thago ne thag li, teree bakri le gaye chor’. “I think these lines sum up the attitude of politicians today. The ‘charkha’ that has now been replaced, on the calendar and diary of KVIC, a fashion accessory to gain credibility. His (Mahatma’s) image has now no meaning, no value, no philosophy. It is a mere photography prop now,” he alleged.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), while dismissing the controversy as “unnecessary”, said “there is no rule in KVIC that its diary and calendar should have only Gandhiji’s photo.” KVIC chairman V K Saxena also defended the move, saying there is “no rule or tradition” that only Mahatma Gandhi’s picture can be published on these items.