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Mahatma’s moustache deserves recognition

It is about time the perception that Gandhiji was clean-shaven is busted.

ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Feb 18, 2020, 08.30 AM IST
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The MP government should remember that summarily depriving someone of a moustache still has deep social implications in India.
The MP government should remember that summarily depriving someone of a moustache still has deep social implications in India.
It is not a question of artistic licence but accuracy: did Mahatma Gandhi always sport a moustache?

A recent diktat by the Madhya Pradesh government that busts of the Father of the Nation be installed in all colleges had reportedly led to some mistakes in execution that left the end result looking distinctly un-Gandhi-like, at least in the estimation of the authorities and corrective measures were ordered.

But while a resemblance to the actor Ben Kingsley would legitimately be called an unacceptable deviation from the true Gandhi, a moustache on the Mahatma — also deemed objectionable — clearly does not fall into the same category.

Not only do photographs testify to the fact that his upper lip was always covered, all the most famous Gandhi statues in India and around the world portray him with that accoutrement. The MP government should remember that summarily depriving someone of a moustache still has deep social implications in India.

Some busts were also apparently rejected because Gandhiji’s spectacles looked more like those associated with another popular subject of busts, B R Ambedkar.

Like spectacles, not all moustaches are the same either, and the busts in MP could simply have opted for the wrong style rather than leaving Gandhiji erroneously clean-shaven. In that case, the MP government’s punctiliousness must be commended.

Gandhi, Nehru: A Look At Real Heroes Of India Inc From The Independence Era

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Turning the lens back on those photos of Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru with some big corporate names of the time. In pic: Mahatma Gandhi (left) and then PM Jawaharlal Nehru at the old JD(S) office which became new Congress Bhavan after the Congress party occupied the building after fighting years long legal battle, at Race course road in Bengaluru.
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