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FACT CHECK: Does a stamp issued in 1982 shows Muslim wrestler thrashing a Brahmin wrestler?

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Summary

It is true that the stamp was issued in 1982 before the 9th Asian Games. However, the stamp which is inspired by a Mughal style painting by Janaki and was designed by Indian painter A. Ramachandran doesn't depict a Muslim wrestler thrashing a Brahmin wrestler.

An image of a stamp in which, a fair-skinned wrestler is knocking down a dark-skinned wrestler, has resurfaced on social media on different occasions with a claim that the stamp was issued in 1982 during the 9th Asian Games when Indira Gandhi was Prime Minister. 

We received a request for fact-checking the same on Facebook. 

Earlier also, the image has been shared by many social media users.  A verified twitter user Madhu Purnima Kishwar shared the image along with a 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."

The same image with a similar claim was shared by a Facebook page in April 2019. 

A twitter user named Pooja Goswami also shared this image with a similar claim in November 2019, which was shared more than 180 times. 

The truth behind the image

In our investigation, we found out that indeed this stamp was released by the Indian Government in 1982 in the wake of 9th Asian Games. 

With the help of a reverse image search, we found a link to iStampGallery.com, a website that has collection and information about the stamps.

According to the website, the stamp is inspired by a Mughal style painting by Janaki and was designed by Indian painter, A. Ramachandran. The original painting is available at the National Museum, New Delhi and is probably a copy of a Persian Artwork. However, in the description, there is no mention of a Hindu or a Muslim wrestler. 

To ascertain the theme or concept behind the stamp we visited the National Museum at New Delhi. The Persian style painting is kept at the Paintings Gallery on the ground floor, and have a small description of the artwork, that says, "Two wrestlers in combat."

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(As per museum's rules, we are not allowed to publish the full picture)

According to the description, this painting was made in around 1540. Also, it is important to point out that both the wrestlers have sikha(Tiki) which is seen mainly among Brahmins and temple priests.

 

Hence, the claim that a Muslim wrestler is knocking down a Hindu/brahmin wrestler appears to be made up as the conclusion is drawn only on the basis of skin color. And probably the stamp issued during the 9th Asian Games in 1982 was inspired by this artwork as it depicts 'wrestling', which is also a sport and was included in the 9th Asian Games. 

We also tried to find out the original Persian art-work to understand the theme of the painting and found out an image of a similar painting, uploaded in a quora discussion.

However, we are not able to verify that this the original Persian art as no information such as the name of the artist, is given.  

In conclusion, It is true that the stamp was issued in 1982 before the 9th Asian Games. However, the stamp which is inspired by a Mughal style painting by Janaki and was designed by Indian painter A. Ramachandran doesn't depict a Muslim wrestler thrashing a Brahmin wrestler. 

 

Note: You can reach out to us at facthunt.in[at]gmail dot com if you find any issue with our articles.

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