BJP’s commemoration politics

BY SAI VINOD| IN Media Practice | 07/12/2015
2015 marks the 125th birth anniversaries of both Ambedkar and Nehru, but the treatment given by GOI to the two is strikingly different.
SAI VINOD presents DAVP data

The only government ad issued on Nehru’s 125th birth anniversary


On December 6 the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment issued a full page colour advertisement to mark  the 60th Mahaparinirvan Diwas of  Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar.

But only some historical figures merit commemoration by this government, others do not. Though 2015 marks the 125th birth anniversaries of both Bhim Rao Ambedkar and Jawaharlal Nehru the treatment given by the government of India to the two anniversaries has been strikingly different.

(left) Bhim Rao Ambedkar, (right) Jawaharlal Nehru


The 125 birth anniversary of one leader merits full page colour advertisements across India, while a similar anniversary for another leader, India’s first prime minister,  only yields black and white advertisements featuring the current prime minister and president.

This is in keeping with what has been this year the Bharatiya Janata Party’s demonstrated policy of publicly embracing the Dalit leader who is regarded as the father of the Indian Constitution, on every possible occasion.

In response to an RTI query  the Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity said that no specific advertisement was released to commemorate the 125th birth anniversary of Jawaharlal Nehru by any client ministry. Not one.



Instead a  total of  223 half page black and white advertisements were issued to newspapers across the land  by the Ministry of Women and Child Development announcing presentation of Child Day awards on November 14 on the occasion of Children’s Day “which is celebrated on the birth anniversary of Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru”.  These featured pictures of Prime Minister Modi and the President, with pictures of children in between. Total cost, Rs 62.53 lakh.

In April however the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment commemorated the 125th anniversary of BR Ambedkar by issuing full page colour advertisements to 52 newspapers in Delhi on the 13th of April with a budget of Rs 50.96 lakh.  The ministry also issued a full page colour advertisement on an all-India basis to 104 newspapers at a cost of Rs 1.09 crore on the next day, April 14, 2015.

Of two historical figures born  the same year, instrumental in shaping the country in post Independence India, one is clearly in, while the other is out. 


The Hoot is the only not-for-profit initiative in India which does independent media monitoring.
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