Following criticism from opposition parties for excluding Jawaharlal Nehru from a poster commemorating India’s 75th Independence Day, the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) has replied by calling the matter ‘unnecessary.’ Other posters that will be released in the coming days, according to the council, will feature photographs of Nehru.
‘We are not trying to undermine anyone’s role in the movement,’ a top ICHR official said. ‘This is only one of the posters released as part of the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav celebrations. There will be several others and Nehru will be featured in them… Controversy around this is unnecessary,’ the official added.
Opposition parties have previously chastised the administration for leaving Nehru, India’s first Prime Minister, from the poster. They suggested that this was done on purpose.
A screenshot of the ICHR website was shared on social media by some Congress leaders, including Jairam Ramesh, Shashi Tharoor and Pawan Khera. Mahatma Gandhi, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Bhagat Singh, B R Ambedkar, Sardar Vallabhai Patel, Rajendra Prasad, Madan Mohan Malviya and Veer Savarkar are prominently represented in the screenshot, whereas Jawaharlal Nehru is absent.
On Sunday, Congress leader P Chidambaram accused the ICHR of ‘bowing down to hate and prejudice.’ He asked, ‘Would you omit Henry Ford when celebrating the birth of the motor car or the Wright brothers while celebrating the birth of aviation?’
A series of lectures and seminars on the theme of India’s freedom struggle is being held by the ICHR as part of the ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’ campaign. A number of historians and academics have been asked to lecture on various issues relating to the central theme. The ICHR is a self-governing body under the Union Ministry of Education.