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Tewari’s Ambedkar Ambition On Rupees Misplaced; Cong Govt Had Declined Proposal

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By: Somi Das
Updated: October 27, 2022 12:38
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Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal might have wittingly or unwittingly stirred up the hornet’s nest with his politically motivated demand of images of Hindus God on Indian currency in a bid to outwit BJP in Hindutva.

Even as the political drama around the demand continues for the second day, politicians of  all shades and hue are in a  mad rush to propose their own names to drive mileage out of the current controversy triggered by Kejriwal.

Babasaheb Ambedkar’s name seems to be a popular choice across the intellectual and political spectrum.  Congress leader Manish Tewari tweeted: ” Why not Dr BabaSahib Ambedkar’s photograph on new series of currency notes ? One side the great Mahatma the other side Dr Ambedkar. Non violence,Constitutionalism & egalitarianism fusing in a unique Union that would sum up the modern Indian genius perfectly.”

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What Tewari might have forgotten is that a 2010 high level RBI committee formed under the UPA government after lengthy deliberations came to the conclusion that no leader other than Mahatma Gandhi represented the “ethos of India”.

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This response was sent to by a Pune-based RTI activist and political analyst Prafful Sarda January, 2020.

Sardar in his capacity as Special Officer in the Uddhav Thackeray administration took note of several requests being made about currency series with images of political stalwarts like Sardar Patel and BR Ambedkar. There were requests to commemorate other brave sons of mother India like Chhatrapati Shivaji and Bhagat Singh. However, Ambedkar and Patel by far were the most popular choice even among citizens.

In 2019, he raised a grievance with the PMO proposing a currency series for Ambedkar and Patel.

This exchange between Sarda and the PMO, of which The New Indian has exclusive access is even more relevant today after Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in a dramatic press conference on Wednesday demanded that Goddess Laxmi and Lord Ganesha’s pictures be put on Indian currency.

Also read:  2020 Govt Response Reveals Laxmi-Ganesha on Indian Rupee May Not Be Possible

Watch Prafful Sarda talk exclusively to The New Indian.

In January 2020, the Prime Minister’s Office uploaded its response on its portal which said that a panel of experts from various fields formed by the RBI came to the conclusion that no one other than the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi better represented Indian ethos.“A high Level Screening Committee constituted in 2010 by Reserve Bank of India on note design deliberated at length about the need for inclusion  of other eminent personalities like Bharat Ratna awardees, Nobel Laureates, eminent sport persons, freedom fighters etc. on bank designs and decided that no other personality could better represent the ethos of India than Mahatma Gandhi,” the response read.The Narendra Modi government on its part approved the recommendation. As well intentioned Tewari’s proposal of Ambedkar’s name may be, probably he should remember that it was under his government that the special committee had refused to entertain names of any leader other than Mahatma Gandhi on the currency note.

 

A copy of Sarda’s letter and PMO’s response.

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