Thiruvananthapuram: After the Americans and the Israelis, the Czechs too feel nothing of selling an alcoholic beverage in the name of Mahatma Gandhi, who had advocated prohibition all through his life.
Gandhi’s picture is embossed on the beer bottle against the backdrop of India’s tricolour. The company, Pivovar Chric, sells Mahatma IPA 13° at Kc 82 (US$3.6) a bottle.
The company advertises it as a “light colonial beer” brewed in memory of the Great Spirit and Father of the Nation “against violence and (for) freedom!” and it “contains a wide range of exotic fragrances.”
Kerala-based Mahatma Gandhi National Founda-tion chairman Eby Jose on Monday wrote to Prime Ministers of India and the Czech Republic, urging them to immediately withdraw the caricature of the Father of the Nation on the beer label, which is “a downright insult, despicable and deplorable act.”
“My friend Arun in Germany, holidaying in the Czech Republic with his friends, saw the beer bottle in a pub and sent me the details,” Mr Jose told DC.
His intervention earlier this month had forced an Israeli firm to stop selling Gandhi-branded beer and apologise after members raised it in Parliament.
“This is the second incident, in a month, of the Mahatma’s name being used to sell beer. It’s shocking that they insulted our national hero who practised and preached abstinence”, said Mr Jose.
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In 2015, New England Brewing Company, a Connecticut-based craft beer company, apologised for a Gandhi-themed brew, Gandhi Bot, renaming it as G-Bot.
Late on Monday, Mr Jose received an email from Milan Dostál, the economic counsellor of the Czech Republic in New Delhi, promising its ambassador would “deal with” the issue. “We will reply to you after we look into the matter internally,” the email says.
“The Mahatma had once said that if he had the power vested with him, he would have brought total prohibition in the country. And this happens when Gandhiji’s 100th birth anniversary is being celebrated all over India”, he said.
His letter says the beer maker had not only used the caricature of also glorified the British colonial rule, against which he had led the non-violent struggle.
He said they released the beer commemorating the Gandhi’s martyrdom day in 2018, and it continued to sell even after the Czech Republic released Gandhi’s stamp on June 26, 2019, on his 150th birth anniversary.
India had earlier this month raised “strong objections” to the cart beer sold in Israel with distorted images of Gandhi to celebrate the Jewish state’s Independence Day in May.
The Israeli brewer, Galilee-based Maka Brewery, stopped production of the beer and apologised after the opposition raised the issue in Rajya Sabha.
He urged Mr Modi to use his good office to withdraw it. Gujarat, where Gandhi was also born, is one of the few states where prohibition is in force....