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    Fury in India Over Mahatma Gandhi’s Image on Israeli Liquor Bottles

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    Mahatma Gandhi, who led India to freedom from British colonial rule in 1947, campaigned against social evils including liquor consumption. For him, drinking was more a disease than a vice. This evil was likely one of the factors that contributed to the fall of the Roman Empire, he wrote in the ‘Young India ’newspaper in 1929.

    New Delhi (Sputnik): An Indian voluntary body has complained to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about an Israeli brewery allegedly using the image of Mahatma Gandhi on its liquor bottles.

    The special commemorative bottles of Malka and Negev beers, brought out to coincide with the 71st Independence Day of Israel in May, depicted the images of five historical leaders – David Ben Gurion, Golda Meir, Menachem Begin – all former Prime Ministers of Israel, Theodor Herzl – Austro-Hungarian journalist- turned-political activist, and Mahatma Gandhi, the late leader of India’s freedom movement popularly referred to as the Father of the Nation in the country. 

    Eby J. Jose of the southern Kerala-based Mahatma Gandhi National Foundation, in his letters to Prime Minister Modi and his Israeli counterpart Prime Minister Netanyahu, wrote that it is “undemocratic, unethical and immoral” for a liquor manufacturer to celebrate Israel’s Independence with a depiction of Gandhi on its beer labels.  He urged the leaders to take immediate steps to “remove” the derogatory representation of Gandhi from its alcoholic beverage bottles and websites.

    “I have lodged a protest with the Israeli Prime Minister’s office to order the withdrawal of the particular gift pack, as Israel is a friendly country. If they do not take any action, we plan to move to court for an appropriate injunction. We are already in consultation with legal experts,” Jose told Sputnik over the phone from Pala city in the Indian state of Kerala.

    ​The image of Gandhiji wearing sunglasses, a T-shirt and an overcoat, was “downright despicable and deplorable”, Jose wrote to both the prime ministers. 

    Though Jose received an acknowledgement from the Indian Prime Minister’s office, there has been no response from the Israeli Prime Minister’s office.

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