Mumbai: For nearly two
years after India became independent, pictures of the king and
queen of Britain continued to adorn government offices and
It was only from June 2, 1949 that the government of then Bombay
state ordered all offices to replace the photographs of British
colonial rulers with those of Mahatma Gandhi, who by then had been
In keeping with the principles of austerity practiced by the
Mahatma, old frames from the British photos were used to mount
pictures of the Father of the Nation, according to archival
material released by Raj Bhavan here Monday, the eve of Gandhi
"The photographs of their majesties ... should be carried to a
remote place where the frame and glasses should be removed. The
frames and glasses which remain intact and neat and tidy should be
used for framing Mahatma Gandhi's photographs," says the
government resolution issued by the Political and Services
Department of the government of Bombay.
The government resolution (GR) copies, issued by then chief
secretary M.D. Bhat, were marked to the governor, premier of
Bombay, the High Court, divisional commissioners, heads of
government departments, ministers, collectors and chief
administrators of Kolhapur and Sangli and special commissioner of
"It is apparent from the GR and circular that the government
advocated austerity while asking government departments to re-use
the old photo frames in tune with the ideology of the new entrant
to the photo frame, Mahatma Gandhi," a Raj Bhavan official said.
The resolution further said: "The actual material on which the
photographs or portraits of the king and queen are photographed or
portrayed should be stored in a safe place where there is no
inflammable material nearby. The question as to what should be
done with the photographs without frames will be decided after
The GR also specified the kinds of pictures the government had
approved for use in various offices.
It had approved pictures received from three agencies - Rex Photo
Studio, Bombay, bust size 16 inches by 22 inches; Vanguard Studio,
Bombay, size 14 inches by 17 inches; Dandi Kuch upright position,
and Associated Photo Service, Delhi, bust size with folded hands
size 10 inches by 12 inches.
The interesting aspect was that the GR also specified which
government office should use which particular photograph of
Later, in another GR issued on Oct 14, 1949, the prices for the
three types of pictures were also communicated.
The first one, without frame, was fixed at Rs.30, the second one
at Rs.18 and the third at Rs.8 per copy.
Today, no government office in the country is complete without a
photograph of Mahatma Gandhi, displayed in a prominent location in