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Friday, 8 February, 2002, 13:44 GMT
US company to protect Gandhi's image
Mahatma Gandhi
'No objection' to non-commercial uses of Gandhi's image
The great-grandson of Mahatma Gandhi has moved to prevent the "inappropriate" use of his name or image in advertising.

Tushar Gandhi has signed an agreement with an American company, CMG Worldwide, which will be responsible for marketing the image of the man who led India to independence.

"Mahatma Gandhi's name should not be used by companies dealing with weapons or alcohol," Tushar Gandhi told the BBC.

But the move has brought objections from the Gandhi Peace Foundation charity which believes the Gandhi name is too sacred to be used.

Worrying approach

Mr Gandhi says he does not object to his great-grandfather's image being used for non-profit making ends.

Tushar Gandhi
Tushar Gandhi has the 'begging bowl out'

He said CMG Worldwide had contacted him last week after it had been approached by a European company wanting to use Mahatma Gandhi's name.

Under the terms of the agreement, any company wishing to use Mahatma Gandhi's name for commercial purposes will now have to approach CMG first, Tushar Gandhi told the BBC.

In an interview with the AFP news agency, he also ruled out the use of the Gandhi name and image in the marketing of meat products or lingerie.

Legal experts say that in the United States there is substantial protection for the rights of famous people who have died.

But in other countries the legal situation is less clear.

Funds received from CMG would go towards the Mahatma Gandhi Foundation, of which Tushar Gandhi is a trustee.

One of the issues confronting the foundation is the upkeep of the family home of Mahatma Gandhi's wife, Kasturba, in the state of Gujarat.

"I am already out with a begging bowl for restoring Kasturba Gandhi's house... It is in very bad shape," he told AFP.

'Too sacred'

The Gandhi Peace Foundation, a non-government organisation, has criticised the move.

Gandhi with Nehru
Gandhi is revered as the Father of the Nation

Its secretary, Anupam Misra, told the BBC that Mahatma Gandhi's name is too sacred to be used by any company or institution for its own commercial ends.

CMG Worldwide describes itself on its website as having achieved an important position in the licensing industry during the 1970s as "the premier company for representing the families and estates of deceased celebrities".

It is involved in the licensing and merchandising of deceased personalities such as the actress Marilyn Monroe, the jazz musician Duke Ellington and the athlete Jesse Owen.

More recent clients include Princess Diana.

See also:

25 Jul 00 | South Asia
Gandhi fashion image row
01 Jan 00 | South Asia
Mahatma Gandhi 'greatest man'
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