April 05, 2020
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Tushar Gandhi

On being accused of "selling" the Mahatma

Tushar Gandhi
Tushar Gandhi
Is the deal with CMG Worldwide off?
Yes it is.

What exactly was the deal? You said the issue has been misunderstood.
They asked my permission to use Bapu's image as an ad for a credit card company. I agreed, that's all.

What's the logic behind an American company having such an arrangement?
A US company can monitor the misuse of Bapuji's image at a global level. Here I can't even serve notice to Rupert Murdoch (for the Nikki Bedi episode).

You think people overreacted?
Absolutely. If only people realised I couldn't have sold a brand called Mahatma for he's not one. The copyrights of his pictures etc are owned by various bodies. Where's the question of my selling it.

You've been accused of compromising for money?
That's unfortunate. After I gave the permission, I asked them to give Mahatma Gandhi Foundation some credit. They said, "will a credit of $42,000 do?" The figure was later raised to $51,000 for the first year. I asked them to send the money as a donation for it'd have helped the renovation of Kasturba's home.

Why was the deal called off?
The whole reaction left a bad taste.

Did the elections have anything to do with your decision?
No politics here at all.

Do you regret your decision?
Yes, but I'm also happy everything's over now.

Can CMG still go ahead with the image of Gandhiji?
There are 54 descendants of Bapu. cmg can approach any one.

Do Indian companies ever seek permission?
No, Tatas, Raymonds and the Mumbai police too have used the image, which is fine. There's also something as blatant as Dandi Namak in the market.

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