Mumbai, Jan 24 (IANS) Mahatma Gandhi has made a comeback in the 2018 Khadi & Village Industries Commission (KVIC) calendar but shares space with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. However, Modi has edged out the Father of the Nation in the KVIC diary.
Unlike 2017, this year Gandhi has been given an upper berth in the KVIC’s coveted wall calendar, with Modi shown below him on the cover page — along with a Central minister.
The 2018 calendar and diaries were officially released at the KVIC’s 653rd board meeting in Ahmedabad on Tuesday before a select gathering.
Last year, Modi replaced Gandhi in both the KVIC desk diaries and wall calendars, leading to a furore.
This year Gandhi has partially returned to the KVIC calendar pedestal, with a surprise addition – Union Minister of State for Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Giriraj Singh, next to the Prime Minister.
After the backlash caused a huge embarrassment to the government, in February 2017, the Ministry of MSME, had pounced on the KVIC management for unauthorized use of the PM’s pictures on its (2017) calendars and diaries.
Attempting a belated damage control, the Ministry shot off detailed guidelines to the KVIC, to be adhered to in future before using pictures of VVIPs on its yearbooks or calendars, including seeking direct approval of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), to be routed through the Ministry.
Once bitten and twice shy, this year the KVIC has taken extra precautions, followed all prescribed norms and secured the go-ahead from the PMO to use Modi’s pictures in 2018 diaries and calendars.
KVIC Chairman V.K. Saxena guardedly confirmed the latest developments.
“Yes, we have just released the 2018 diaries and calendars. PM Modiji’s picture is there on the cover pages. Gandhiji is always in our midst,” Saxena told IANS.
This year too, sporting thin-rimmed glasses, a cream kurta and white ‘churidar’, Modi is shown seated cross-legged – in the classic original pose of Gandhi – weaving khadi on a modern improvised wooden ‘charkha’ on the KVIC 2018 diaries.
Clad only in a loin cloth and his trademark round-framed, thin-rimmed glasses, Gandhi is back on the KVIC calendar cover at the top upper half in his traditional black-and-white image, weaving ‘khadi’.
Last year, anguished KVIC staffers in Mumbai and elsewhere had staged a Gandhian form of ‘silent, soul-cleansing’ protest. Later many were threatened with disciplinary action, which was later dropped.
This year no protests are planned though employees, a source said, are not happy with attempts to “systematically erase Gandhiji” from various NATIONAL symbols associated with him.