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Cartoonist Manjul and Gujarat Samachar belittle Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose’s legacy to attack the Modi government

In the January 24 edition of Gujarat Samachar, a cartoon by Manjul showed two men with saffron strolls talking to each other in front of a statue. The caption written in Gujarati translates to "Who is this guy? And when did he die? Just because he was against Nehru and Gandhi Ji, we have put up his statue."

On January 23, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the hologram of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose’s statue at India Gate. The hologram will fill up the space meant for Netaji’s statue till the granite statue is completed and installed at the place.

However, this initiative did not sit well with a section of so-called intellectuals and liberals, who felt no qualms in mocking the legacy of one of the most formidable freedom fighters the country has known in their bid to mount an attack against PM Modi and BJP.

One such attempt was made by Gujarat Samachar and cartoonist Manjul. In the January 24 edition, the media house published a cartoon in the print edition where two men with saffron strolls are talking to each other in front of a statue. The caption written in Gujarati translates to “Who is this guy? And when did he die? Just because he was against Nehru and Gandhi Ji, we have put up his statue.”

Screenshot of a cartoon published in Gujarat Samachar mocking Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. Source: Gujarat Samachar ePaper

The media house and cartoonist not only mocked the freedom fighter but also belittled the contribution made by Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose towards the country’s struggle for independence. Netaji played a vital role in India’s freedom struggle against the oppressive British colonial rule by establishing Azad Hind Fauj, a military regiment that was going to fight with the British government. Yet, for Manjul and Gujarat Samachar, Bose’s crucial role in India’s fight for independence meant nothing as they proceeded to imply that his statue is only being installed because he was allegedly against Nehru and Gandhi. It was Netaji who was amongst those who first referred to Mahatma Gandhi as the Father of the nation.

However, for Manjul and detractors like him, Netaji and other freedom fighters barring the Nehru dynasty are nothing more than sticks to beat the Modi government with. In fact, a bevvy of social media users, including activist Vijay Patel, took strong objections over the cartoon for demeaning the legacy of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and using a towering freedom fighter for pushing one’s political propaganda.

Manjul and history of making derogatory cartoons

This is not the first time Manjul drew derogatory cartoons and got away by claiming freedom of expression. In 2021, after he got an email from Twitter that an Indian law enforcement agency had raised an objection on his account, Manjul, who is an anti-BJP cartoonist, cried foul. He tried to insinuate that the Modi government has been trying to silence his freedom of expression. He had shared a screenshot of an email received from ‘Twitter Legal’, wherein it pointed out that the microblogging platform had received a request from Indian law enforcement authorities regarding his account. “Jai Ho Modi Ji ki sarkar ki (All hail the Narendra Modi-led-government),” he alleged.

In another tweet, he claimed, “Thanks to the Modi government that it did not ask Twitter to shut down the handle for being anti-religion and atheist and not considering Modi Ji as my God.” Manjul further insinuated that the warning from Twitter was received at the behest of the Indian government. He wrote, “It would have been better if the government informed about the tweet that had offended it. I could have re-posted the same tweet. This would have helped the people.”

Gujarat Samachar also has a problematic history. In 2021, Urvish Kothari, one of its columnists, mocked the Gujarat government and used a video of burning pyres to attack the government’s covid management capabilities. In 2019, Gujarat Samachar thought invoking ‘How’s the josh’ catchphrase to question the government was a good move. Islamists were using the phrase to celebrate the Pulwama attack.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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