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Tuesday, 25 July, 2000, 14:37 GMT 15:37 UK
Gandhi fashion image row
Rajghat memorial, Delhi
Paying respects at the Gandhi memorial in Delhi
By Narayan Bareth in Jaipur

A court in India has criticised the organisers of a fashion show for displaying a picture of Mahatma Gandhi on the back of a model's outfit.

The court said the costume dishonoured the image of Mahatma Gandhi, and has ordered the show's organisers and the local police chief to apologise to the nation.

A full hearing of the case is due next week.

Mahatma Gandhi is revered throughout India as the Father of the Nation, and his image is one which is fiercely protected by many in the country.

The display of his image at a fashion show in the northern city of Jaipur prompted outrage among many followers of Gandhian ideology, who felt it was derogatory.

File picture of Gandhi with Nehru
Revered as the Father of the Nation
They said the show had insulted the Mahatma's image, and demanded action against the organisers.

Now the Jaipur High Court has stepped in by registering a case in the interest of the public against the show's organisers.

A full hearing is due to take place next week but, while registering the case, Judge Ashok Parihar ordered the show's organisers and the local police chief - who attended the show - to apologise to the nation.

Symbolic image

The case was brought to the attention of the court after pictures of the fashion show were published in a local newspaper.

The costume in question carried a picture of Mahatma Gandhi sitting at a handloom, spinning cotton.

The image, which was used widely by Mahatma Gandhi during India's independence struggle as a symbol of India's nationalism, was seen by the court as inappropriate to adorn a model's back.

This is not the first time statements or actions relating to depiction of Mahatma Gandhi have provoked an angry reaction from the country's court.

A few years ago a popular television show was cancelled after one of its guests made a remarks against Mahatma Gandhi, which were considered to be insulting to his legacy.

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See also:

11 Apr 00 | South Asia
Gandhi film arouses passions
01 Jan 00 | South Asia
Mahatma Gandhi 'greatest man'
18 Jul 98 | South Asia
Gandhi play banned
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