We are dismayed by the Information & Broadcasting Ministry's "explanation", published in today's newspapers. It defies credulity to contend that the Preamble amended in 1976 was "not available", and the original, outdated one was used in tribute to the Constitution's framers.
The advertisement didn't have a "retro" theme, but had a contemporary photograph of five women and three men in the foreground, beneath Narendra Modi's prominently displayed quote about the government of India having "only one holy book" and "that is the Constitution".
But the Constitution is emphatically not a "holy book"; it's a secular document. Besides, six of the eight human figures displayed in ceremonial costumes are seemingly Hindu; the remaining two appear to be Northeastern tribals. As many as four of the five women have tikas on their foreheads, identifying them with one religious community.
No Muslim, Sikh or Christian finds a representation in this majoritarian advertisement. This reflects the pro-communal change in perception and attitude driven by the Modi regime with its ideological allegiance to Hindu Rashtra.
Several commentators have noted that even this year's Republic Day parade showcased a very Hinduised picture of many states, and floats of the states ruled by opposition parties were excluded. The tableau on 'Make in India' was reportedly prepared by a US-based public-relations agency.
Our e-petition emphasised that the words 'secular' and 'socialist' were added to the Preamble to reflect the collective will of the Indian people to uphold those values.
We deplore the government's misrepresentation of the spirit of the Constitution and Republic Day, and call upon the people to remain vigilant to distortions of the core-values of our democracy.