Wednesday, July 29, 2015

BJP icons Vivekananda, Bhagat Singh, Tagore, Bose, Abul Kalam to join Nehru on stamps

NEW DELHI: Continuing with the BJP's project to dilute the Gandhi-Nehru family's iconography, the government is all set to immortalise anti-Congress political icons such as Jai Prakash Narayan, Ram Manohar Lohia, Syama Prasad Mookerjee and Deen Dayal Upadhyay by issuing 'definitive' postage stamps of them in various denominations.

A decision to this effect was learnt to have been taken during a recent meeting of the philatelic advisory committee chaired by Ravi Shankar Prasad, Union minister of IT, Telecom and Posts.

The postal department issues stamps in two categories - definitive and commemorative. Definitive stamps are for day-today use in various denominations and are available across all post offices in the country. Commemorative stamps are limited edition stamps issued on special occasions related to people, institutions or events.

Government sources said the move stems from criticism during the committee meeting about the postal department issuing definitive stamps featuring members of the Congress first family --Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi - apart from Mahatma Gandhi.

"It was decided that eminent people of all ideological, cultural and musical streams and revolutionaries should be given due space in definitive postage stamps," according to an official who attended the meeting.

According to sources, the indications are definitive postage stamps would be issued on Swami Vivekananda, revolutionary Bhagat Singh, Rabindranath Tagore, Subhash Chandra Bose, Vallabhbhai Patel, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Tamil poet Subramnia Bharti and modern stalwarts of Indian music - Pandit Ravishankar, Bhimsen Joshi and MS Subbulakshmi.

"This move has been necessitated by the dominance of members of one family (Nehru-Gandhi) in the definitive postage stamps category," said a person who was present at the committee meeting. The ruling establishment now hopes to establish Deen Dayal Upadhyay and Syama Prasad Mookerjee, the two ideological icons of the ruling BJP, as icons for the masses through their postage stamps.

Additionally, the meeting is learnt to have recommended launching a series of commemorative stamps on musical stalwarts (Mohammad Rafi, Kishore Kumar, Mukesh, Bhupen Hazarika and Geeta Dutt), painters, dancers and revolutionaries of India.

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