A ridiculously high-priced pen?named?after?Mahatma Gandhi has stirred a hornets’ nest and led to the inevitable public interest litigation. A 1950 law prevents use of the Mahatma’s name for any commercial activity.
This is not the first time that the use of the hallowed name by firms has led to moral outrage. Marketing agency CMG Worldwide in 2002, Telecom Italia in 2004 and the British Virgin Group in 2007 ran into similar trouble.
Then there was Apple’s brilliant Think Different ad campaign in 1997 that made use of lateral thinkers such as Gandhi and Albert Einstein. That campaign was in sharp contrast to the silly idea to use the name of an austere man to sell a luxury item.
Sixty-one years after his death, India needs to be less solemn about the legacy of a man who often sported a toothless smile and a twinkle in his eye. Also, we fail to understand why firms aren’t allowed to borrow his name but politicians are. Witness the government’s decision on Gandhi Jayanti to tag his name?to?the rural jobs scheme.