Phulia, Nov. 13: For legendary weaver Biren Kumar Basak, Saturday morning brought a delight when he saw that Prime Minister Narenda Modi tweeted a picture of him presenting a special Sari, a unique piece of his craftsmanship, with his image weaved on it. But, his delight became short lived as the netizen began trolling the Prime Minister for being not the ideal one for the gift by the great weaver who actually handcrafted the country’s unity in religious and cultural diversity.
At 8.51 in the morning Modi tweeted the picture of Basak presenting the special traditionally hand weaved Jamdani sari which was snapped in New Delhi on November 9 at the Ashok Hall of Rastrapati Bhawan during a tea party after conferment of the Padma Shri award. Basak, 70, a weaver from Phulia Chatkatala in Nadia was there as one of the 119 individual recipients of this year’s Padmashri award.
Sharing the picture with Biren Kumar Basak, the Prime Minister tweeted “….he presented something to me which I greatly cherish”.
The tweet followed retweets that included praise for both the artists and the administrator by their followers in their usual penchant. But at the same time there were many among the thousands of retweets which categorically meant that the Prime Minister does not respect the unity in diversity.
The elderly artist found such reactions “disappointing” as he said that some people made ‘bogus point’ about the Prime Minister with personal prejudices. However, he said, “I don’t understand politics. But, I think people who are concerned about only one religion are the real anti-national people”.
Basak said handing over the piece to Modi was a great moment. It was delighting to see him tweeted the picture of the incident, but the retweets of people made me sombre:, the elderly artist said
Basak, recipient of National award 2012 and Sant Kabir award 2013 for his “outstanding skill and contribution to the development of weaving art'”, took the opportunity to hand over his 2015’s creation in which he had depicted Modi addressing people of diverse identity, conceived based on the concept of country’s unity in diversity.
But, the netizen claimed Basak had chosen the wrong person for the gift who does not understand this diversity.
Dibyendu Pal, a netizen tweeted, “The people of West Bengal understand the sentiments of all religious communities so they have drawn this picture irrespective of Hindu-Muslim but you don’t understand that…”
Shri Biren Kumar Basak belongs to Nadia in West Bengal. He is a reputed weaver, who depicts different aspects of Indian history and culture in his Sarees. During the interaction with the Padma Awardees, he presented something to me which I greatly cherish. pic.twitter.com/qPcf5CvtCA
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) November 13, 2021
Another tweeter Shri was more categorical, as he eulogized Basak for his creation but flayed Modi for his divisive acts. “His (Basak) dream for United India is represented by his art of weaving. His message to you is “stop dividing India in the name of Religion and Caste”.
In an obvious reference to Modi’s infamous statement made during December 2019 CAA protest when he said that persons indulging in arsons “can be identified by their clothes”, Sahadat Khan, a netizen, tweeted, “It is unbelievable there is 1 topi wala also seen in printed share…like Modi ji Kapre se pehchan lete hain”.
Vipul Thakur in his tweet meant that the Basak’s picture is a lesson as he stated, “He is giving a great message through his art. He is asking to work on unity among all religions in India, which started disappearing nowadays “.
On Facebook, where Modi also shared the same picture, netizens found that the concept of Basak’s creation does not suit the Prime Minister. Rafiq Ibrahim Nathanie commented on his post, “Paradoxically speaking your words more befitting for Late Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastriji”.
Shiva, a netizen tweeted, “Hopefully u wont judge people who are wearing a skull cap in the image, or you will probably just cut your image and throw the other half? The diversity and unity of India needs to be accepted and cherished and it is indeed a great work from Biren Kumar…”
AB tweeted, “I see everyone in the audience of this art is unhappy. It depicts Bengal’s culture of unity in diversity who unanimously is not liking what the man is saying to them.”
Asif Masood tweeted, “Mr. Biren Kumar made the work based on real life. All we see almost daily is, PM giving speeches, No Press conference, no real work”.
When asked for reaction Basak told The NfN, “As the Prime Minister Modi is the leader of the Nation, which includes people across the religion and community. I tried to depict this concept in my creation. I don’t think that our Prime Minister has anything against this concept”.
“He has not done any harm to any specific community…But there are people who are concerned about one religion, whom I think are the real Deshdrohi”, Basak added.