A photo of late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi with a video camera is being circulated online with a misleading claim that he had used a digital video camera in 1983 during the Indian Air Force (IAF) air show at Hindon, Uttar Pradesh.
The photo comes in light of the recent statements made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi about him (Modi) using a digital camera and email in the late 80s, which stirred a controversy on social media.
The black and white picture of Gandhi was shared by a Facebook page named ‘We Support Subramaninan Swamy’ with the caption, “If senior pappu was using digital camera in 83, modiji cannot use it in 88.this is Italy family slaves logic. “
The post had gained around 3,700 shares and 2,600 reactions at the time of writing this article.
Modi in a recent interview to television news channel News Nation ambiguously claimed that he may be the first person in the country to use a digital camera. The prime minister said he had used the camera to take a picture of L.K. Advani at Viramgam, Gujarat, in “1987-1988”, which he then sent to Delhi using e-mailing service. “The picture was printed in full colour in the newspaper the very next day, much to the surprise of Mr. Advani,” he said.
BOOM had fact-checked this claim and found that neither the internet, nor digital cameras were readily available to the public prior to the 1990’s.
Read the story here: Could PM Modi Have Used Digital Cameras And E-Mailing Services In 1988?
BOOM ran a reverse image search for the photo showing Rajiv Gandhi with a video camera and found that it is was taken in 1983. Gandhi was filming an air show by Indian Air Force at the Hindon Air Force Station in Uttar Pradesh.
The same photo appeared in a 2015 article published in the India Today magazine titled ‘The Rajiv Gandhi years’ written by journalist Shekhar Gupta.
The Indian National Congress’s official Twitter handle had also tweeted the same photograph of Rajiv Gandhi in August 2017 describing the former prime minister’s love for photography.
Using InVid, an image and video verification tool, we zoomed into the photograph and spotted ‘JVC’ written on the video camera.
JVC or Japan Victor Company is a Japanese professional and consumer electronics company known for making video cameras.
BOOM then searched using certain key words such as ‘JVC’ ‘camera’ and found that the camera Gandhi was holding matched the image of a JVC GX-88E.
According to the e-Bay brochure of a 1982 Vintage / Retro JVC GX-88E Video Camera, it is a nowhere mentioned that the video camera was digital.
Click here to view the brochure.
The components of the camera matched with the features mentioned within the brochure.
BOOM analysed the user manual of the video camera available on the eBay listing and found no mention that it was a digital video camera. In fact, the user manual describes what are VHS Video cassettes that are used in the said video camera.
VHS stands for Video Home Systems.
The user manual has two sections which highlight that the video camera was a VHS based one. “Ways of Filling your video cassettes with a variety of programmes” and a section on what is a VHS video cassette.
Barring the brochure on eBay, we could not find a comprehensive description of the video camera online which provided the year of manufacturing or its cost. BOOM has reached out to JVC to know more about the video camera and the article will be updated upon receiving a response.
We also found another photo of Rajiv Gandhi with the same camera at an event, in the archives of Bennett Coleman. (Click here to view the image)
Here the bag on Rajiv Gandhi’s left shoulder show the slot for a video cassette.
A zoomed in view of the image shows the videotape.
This is corroborated by a Facebook post that BOOM found where a user had posted about wanting to sell two vintage video cameras – JVC GX88E and Ferguson Videostar, on an online forum.
One of the images in the post from April 2018 clearly shows the video tape slot clearly.
(Click here to view the post)
We had earlier stated both images — the viral photo and the Times’ archived photo, were shot at the same event. The error is regretted.
BOOM also found upon analysing that Gandhi is holding JVC camera in the both the photos — the viral photo and the Times’ archived photo.