A day after President Ram Nath Kovind visited his birth place Paraunkh village in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh on June 27, a picture showing him bowing down to touch the soil of his native village has gone viral with a caption purportedly claiming that the picture symbolises a 'psychology of slavery'.
President Ram Nath Kovind reached Kanpur on a four-day visit on June 27 by train - the first president to do so in last 15 years. Kovind also visited Paraunkh village - his place of birth - on June 27. The picture showing Kovind touching the soil of his native village is viral against this backdrop.
The viral picture shows Ram Nath Kovind shows touching his forehead with his hand in a bowed down position while UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Governor Anandiben Patel can be seen to the President's left. A caption with the viral picture narrates an anecdote, as claimed by the Facebook user, suggesting that the President, who belongs to the Dalit community, was bowing down to the UP CM Yogi Adityanath.
The Hindi caption translates to 'There was some work that had to be done in the district magistrate's office, the DM was a Dalit. I met an acquaintance, I told my problem to Pandit ji, and he said "come with me, I will speak". When I reached the district magistrate's office with him, the Dalit district magistrate almost bowed down in front of the Pandit ji, seemingly touching his feet from 10 feet away. Pandit ji belonged to his village. What I mean to say is that Dalits don't need to change the reservation, but their thinking and nature. This picture of His Majesty (President) today reminded me of the incident. The slave mentality does not leave easily'.
(Hindi: एक बार जिलाधिकारी कार्यालय में कुछ काम कराना था , जिलाधिकारी महोदय दलित थे। एक परिचित मिले , पंडित जी को अपनी समस्या बताया तो बोले कि अरे चलो मेरे साथ मैं बोल देता हूँ। मैं उनके साथ जैसे ही जिलाधिकारी के आफिस में पहुँचा , दलित जिलाधिकारी उस पंडित जी के सामने लगभग दंडवत हो गये , 10 फिट दूर से पैर छूने के अंदाज में दिखे। पंडित जी उनके गाँव के ही थे। कहने का अर्थ यह है कि दलितों को आरक्षण नहीं सोच और स्वभाव बदलने की ज़रूरत है। आज महामहिम के इस चित्र को देखकर घटना याद आ गयी। गुलामी की मानसिकता जल्दी पीछा नहीं छोड़ती।)
The same picture has been shared from a Twitter handle with a similar Marathi caption insinuating that it shows a 'slave mentality'.
The same picture was tweeted from the official Twitter handle of the President of India on June 27 with a caption reading 'In a rare emotional gesture, after landing at the helipad near his village, Paraunkh of Kanpur Dehat district of Uttar Pradesh, President Ram Nath Kovind bowed and touched the soil to pay obeisance to the land of his birth'.
A Hindustan Times report states that the 'President took a bit of the soil and applied it on his forehead, supposedly as a sign of reverence for his native land'. The report further quoted the President as saying, while speaking at a public address in Kanpur Dehat, "As far as I have reached today, the credit goes to the soil of this village and the love and blessings of all of you".
BOOM also found the President's speech wherein he is addressing a Jan Abhinandan Samaroh in Paraunkh village.
At the time stamp of 41.20, Kovind says, "And that's why when I got down from the helicopter today, the first thing I did was to pay obeisance to my motherland and bow down to her".