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 (Image Courtesy PIB & Deptt of Post)
The Tiranga Yatra that Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged off on Tuesday from birthplace of great freedom fighter Chandra Shekhar Azad in Madhya Pradesh conveyed a major, silent message. 
The message was embedded in a poster splashed on the dais. It showed picture of Father of Nation Mahatma Gandhi on the one side and of Azad on the other side. And there hangs an interesting tale. Providing such parity to two freedom fighters of contrasting approach towards freedom struggle was unthinkable under any Congress regime. 
The Congress Governments normally marginalized or underplayed the importance of freedom fighters who opted for non-Gandhian means for achieving Freedom from British Raj. And the best proof of the raw deal given to the memory of greats like Azad was Indira Gandhi regime’s decision to brush aside plea from many quarters for issue of a postage stamp in the honour of Mr. Azad.
Before elaborating the decision, feel the anguish that late Bhupesh Gupta, expressed in Parliament on 28th February 1981. He stated: “Sir, one request to you. Yesterday you were good enough to say that you would convey about my request for the issue of a commemoration stamp to honour Chandra Shekhar Azad. The papers have not even published it. Anyway, I do not blame the papers. It is their job.”
Mr. Gupta, a legendary Communist parliamentarian, continued: “Yesterday, the 27th of February, was the day of martyrdom of Chandra Shekhar Azad. He was killed in fighting in the Alfred Park in Allahabad. I wanted a commemoration stamp to be issued and for several months I had been pleading with the Government but I have not succeeded. Sir, I would beg of you to help us in getting a commemoration stamp.”
Another MP Nageshwar Prasad Shahi shared Mr. Gupta’s anguish by observing: “Chandra Shekhar Azad was killed in the Alfred Park. Till now the Alfred Park has not been renamed, officially, as Chandra Shekhar Azad Park although the people of Allahabad city know it as Azad Park. The Government has not renamed it as Azad Park.” He demanded that the Government agree to rename the park. 
About 10 days prior to these pleadings, the Government avoided giving a straight negative reply to a question:  “whether the sub-Committee of Philatelic Advisory Committee has decided to bring out commemorative postal stamps of the late revolutionary and freedom fighter Chandra Shekhar Azad on his 50th Death Anniversary?”
In its reply, the Government stated that sub-committee's mandate is “advise the Government on a series of stamps depicting the landmarks in India's freedom struggle.”
The Answer added: “A postage stamp will be issued on 23, March 1931 to symbolise the nation's homage to all the martyrs who sacrificed their lives in India's freedom struggle.”
As Mrs. Indira Gandhi returned to power only in January 1980, the blame for rejecting popular demand for issue of commemorative stamp in honour of Azad should be apportioned between Indira regime and its predecessor - Charan Singh Government. The latter might not have responded negatively to the idea of Azad stamp perhaps because it was formed & sustained with the help Congress crutches.
The most shocking aspect of the stamp saga is that Indira Gandhi Government had no qualms in issuing a stamp on her son Sanjay Gandhi on his first death anniversary – 23 June 1981!
In 1981, Indira regime also released stamps on certain other personalities, butterflies, flowering trees and several other themes. This shows that there was no justification to trash popular demand for a stamp on Azad. 
Wisdom finally dawned on Congress Government in 1988 when it was headed by Indira’s elder son, Rajiv Gandhi. It issued a commemorative stamp in honour of Azad on 27th February 1988.  
Congress-led UPA regime's indifference towards proper narration of history of India’s freedom struggle was reflected in its reply to a Parliament question dated 13th December 2004. 
The question was: (a) whether it is a fact that Karnataka and other States have deleted the names of Veer Savarkar and Chandra Shekhar Azad from the list of National icons in the text books; (b) if so, the reasons therefor; and (c) the steps taken by Government to ensure that facts about freedom fighters are correctly given in the school text books all over the country?
And the reply: “The State Governments/ UT Administrations are competent to prepare curriculum framework, syllabi and textbooks for their respective Boards. The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) prepares curriculum framework and textbooks on behalf of Government of India but has no authority to prescribe textbooks for any Boards including State Boards.”
After reading stamps saga, should Bollywood stalwart Rishi Kapoor not wonder whether Postal Department Ko Baap ka maal samjh rakha tha
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