Designer Kunal Merchant refuses to design for PM Modi saying ‘History treats the supporters, suppliers and propagators of Nazis as Nazis themselves’

Renowned furniture designer Kunal Merchant has refused to make a table for PM Modi as he sees the growing atmosphere of hatred within the country.

On Friday, Kunal Merchant posted a story on his Instagram, in which he shared an email conversation he had with PM Modi’s personal secretary on April 12. In this, it was proposed to prepare a special table for the Prime Minister from Kunal. This table is to be used not only by PM Modi but also by all his future successors. But Merchant declined the offer because of his “political and social views”.

Kunal Merchant in a long counter letter said, “Thank you for considering me and my practice for such a prestigious project. Unfortunately due to my political and social views, I would like to respectfully decline this opportunity and wish not to be considered as a contender for the same. Had things been different and should I have been able to do this project, I would have liked to called this desk ‘The Swaraj Desk’, much like ‘The Resolute Desk’ behind which the President of the United States of America sits.
I would have made this desk from timber and raw materials from all over India, to symbolise our unity, fraternity and diversity.
However, I would like to inform you that I am first and foremost a Gandhian and believe in the true spirit of Ahimsa, Non-Violence and social change thru civil disobedience. I have learnt first hand from people I know who have walked with Gandhiji, the real meaning of ‘Swaraj’ Gandhiji wanted every Indian to be the master of himself, whether this meant independence from the British or any other colonial power was irrelevant – his message was the same, ‘Swaraj meant self-rule, that every Indian must be a master of himself before he can resist or uproot an external master! As a designer and creator, I have taken this to mean that being a master of one’s self is the first step to being a good

In the discipline of design, one is one’s own enimy and must surmount great odds to defeat one’s own ego, self doubt, judgements and assumptions. In all fields of art, design or creativity, this is the key to being liberated and creating freely without prejudice, judgement and morality. I have noticed that the actions and predilections of your government and it’s policies have always tried to stifle these liberating sentiments within people only to replace it with a reductive, obtuse and facile understanding of the world, our history and where we as a people are heading.

It is no secret that I have been fundamentally opposed to the politics and policies of our current Prime Minister and the ruling party. The India that you’ll are trying to make has never existed in the past, has no basis in present and has no warrant in the future. Your ‘India’ is prejudiced, hateful, exclusive and racist. My ‘India’ is secular, plural, inclusive, tolerant and a civilisational force that has a Seven Thousand years old record of accepting and incorporating ‘outsiders!
While 20% of my fellow citizens live below the poverty line and while 22% of my fellow citizens who are Muslim live in marginalised conditions created by your government and its policies, I find it morally and unethically feasible to design and create a desk for the head of our government on which laws and policies will be signed to further this agenda of segregation and deprivation of minorities.

“Please remember that history treats the supporters, suppliers and propagators of Nazis as Nazis themselves. I do not want to have anything to do with, nor contribute to this regime lest history associates me with your racism, fascism, reductive and binary thinking as well as your thuggery. As a designer I seek to inspire and uplift the quality of life of the people around me. While distilling all that I imbibe, one of the first things to evaporate in the process is racial and religious differences. Designers and Modern artists like me are interested in common human experience – that which we all experience and feel – no matter our background. I get to this point with love, empathy and patients. This is my Karma; my meaning, purpose and place in the universe. All my design efforts seek to say that there is beauty within me and I know that there is beauty within you and the beauty within me is reaching out to the beauty within you’. Your politics seems to say that ‘there is Hatred within me and I know there is hatred within you, let’s get together and hate each other.”

He concluded by saying, “Building a table for the PMO and contributing to your regime, not only diminishes my Karmic force in this universe but seems to be a disservice to me, friends, family and staff who come from marginalised backgrounds, are minorities, are part of the LGBTQ community or are Dalits and schedule casts. Only when ‘we’ really means ‘we all with no exceptions, will 1, with pride and with my full inner temerity and confidence, be able to build for the head of our state a ‘Swatantra Table! Until then I suggest you find another designer and maker for your desk.”

Designer Kunal Merchant refuses to design for PM Modi

Kunal Merchant posted this e-mailed conversation on his Instagram story.

Kunal Merchant shared a copy of the mail received from the PMO and his response on his Instagram, after which it went viral. People are praising Kunal on social media, while BJP supporters are writing against him.

When the matter caught fire, it was informed by tweeting from Delhi Police that the mail sent to Kunal is actually a fraud. The Delhi Police Commissioner wrote that the mail has been sent with a fake identity of a PMO employee and it is being investigated.

If the police is to be believed, no such mail was sent from the PMO and someone had invited Kunal to make a desk with a fake identity, but still Kunal’s reply is being appreciated because people considered it to be a real mail.

Designer Kunal Merchant refuses to design for PM Modi

The words written by Kunal are enough to have faith in the Indian Constitution and defeat the politics of hate. For the past several days, the conspiracy to incite hatred in India, an atmosphere of violence is being created against the minorities, at such a time this mail of Kunal inspires to keep the Indian society tied.

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