Social media users are sharing a postal stamp of 1982, which shows a man with fair skin tossing a man with a dark complexion during wrestling with claims that the stamp depicts a Muslim wrestler defeating a Brahmin wrestler and the stamp was issued when Indira Gandhi was the Prime Minister to India. This claim is being shared on social media to depict Congress' minority appeasement and anti-Hindu propaganda of Indira Gandhi.
A Twitter user Renuka shared the post with the caption, "Indira Gandhi issued a postal stamp in 1982 for Asian games in which a Turkish Muslim wrestler can be seen beating a Hindu wrestler who is having a shikha (Choti). Now you can not see this anti-Hindu and anti-national mindset which is prevailing for long." The archive of the link can be seen here.
The same image of a postal stamp also went viral in 2019. Madhu Purnima Kishwar had shared it with the caption, "Only in #SickularIndia--This "ethnic looking" stamp was issued to commemorate #AsianGames1982 in Delhi when @INCIndia was in power. Am I reading it right that a Muslim wrestler is shown ready to thrash a Brahmin wrestler?This is neither good politics not good aesthetic."
Indian government under Indira Gandhi issued a postal stamp that showed a Hindu wrestler beaten by a Muslim wrestler.
The Logical Indian did a reverse image search of the postal stamp and found the same image was published on a website, StampWorld. According to the site, the postal stamp was published in 1982 to commemorate the Asian Games, which were to be held in New Delhi that year.
We found the description of the postal stamp on the website iStampGallery.com. According to this site, the postal stamp was issued on October 30, 1982, on the occasion of the 9th Asian Games and it was based on an ancient sport. The stamp shows a painting on wrestling bout. The stamp was inspired by Janaki's painting which is available in the National Museum of New Delhi. The painting has Persian influence and is executed in the Mughal Style of the early 17th century. The website also informed that A. Ramchandran designed the stamp.
Fact Hunt, a fact-checking website, visited National Museum Delhi and confirmed that the theme behind the stamp was the Persian style painting which is kept at the Paintings Gallery on the ground floor of the National Museum Delhi and have a small description of the artwork that says, "Two wrestlers in combat."
A. Ramchandran is an Indian contemporary artist. We found the same postal stamp present on his website that has the art pieces made by him.
We were not able to independently verify if the people portrayed in the painting were Turkish or Hindu or of any other race or religion. But what we could observe was that the basis on which social media users are differentiating between the two wrestlers false flat. The social media users assumed that the man who is being tossed is a Hindu as he has a sikha (Tiki), but we noticed that both men in the image are having sikha, so it is not possible to identify who belongs to which caste or religion.
A Quora user had also shared a similar image and described that the image depicted traditional wrestling in Iran, which is called Varzesh-e Bastani.
We found that the viral postal stamp is not the only postal stamp that was launched to commemorate the 9th Asian game, but there were other postal stamps as well. One of the postal stamps depicted a scene from Mahabharata, which shows Arjun shooting at the fish's eye using his arrow. The postal stamps depicted ancient sports.
Below are some of the other postal stamps issued by India to commemorate the Asian Games.
Hence, the viral claim is fake. The postal stamp that went viral depicts ancient sport and has no relation to religion.
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