The Blue Icon

The Blue Icon Identity & Emergence of the Blue Insignia

As one confronts the images of the leaders in social and political life, one can sense a process in which the images get formed. In this process there are many elements, which shape the image, the primary one is ‘factual appearance’ of the leader, philosophy and the contribution of the leader also form a ‘qualitative image’ in the mind of his/her followers. Which creates a persona of the leader. Government also plays an active role in developing the ‘official image’ of the leader and insists the use of it. Leaders are human beings, their appearances change naturally due to the process of time, aging, illness, changes in the styling of their costume etc. official images do no consider these human aspects and aims to create an ‘timeless image’ which matches to the qualitative image developed in the minds of his/her followers.

In this process of image making, mediums and technology, like photography, printing quality etc. also play an important part. Mahatma Gandhi, Indira Gandhi, Winston Churchill, Hitler, John .F. Kennedy, there are many examples of the leaders whose images are being etched in the mind of the people, due to the vision of the photographers, who captured their them. In Indian society one can see, persona of the leaders creating a lasting influence. In this, ‘official images’ play their role but the followers of the leaders, many of whom literally worship them, create a qualitative image by emotionally, intellectually responding to the leaders appearance. These qualitative images have a unique aesthetic appeal. In Indian society the people and their responses have created Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar’s image. The needs, aspirations, desires, dreams of the people, develop the quality of the responses towards the leader and the repetitive nature of these responses crystalize the image of the leader. ‘Official images’ created by the governments are only displayed in the offices of the government, but the images created by the people are part of their life, they live with these images. Images are part of psychological, emotional, intellectual aspects of life. Followers of Babasaheb, create the images of him with their imagination, emotional responses as well as their aspirations. Pendants, wristwatches, wall clocks, posters and frames,

statuettes & images on the T­ shirts, there are so many objects through which image of Babasaheb has become a part of the lives. Babasaheb adopted Buddhism, so images of Buddha, peepal leaf, window detail of the Chaitya and Vihara become an integral part of the images. He was one of the creators of Indian constitution so the images of parliament house as well appear in the background of many of the images. Like a DNA, blue colour is all over these images. Followers of Babasaheb look at him as an ideal leader, teacher & as an inspirational figure. This perception does not value factual appearance; rather it has created an emblem from his attire- His coat, shoes, pen, books in the hand. This kind of formation of the meaning develop an aesthetic value of the images. The Blue Icon­ Identity and the emergence of the Blue Insignia, is a unique opportunity to view the rare images of Bharat Ratna Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar as an individual, political leader & creator of the constitution. As well as the images captured by the students learning photography, at Photography promotion trust can be viewed in this exhibition. Theme of the photographs captured by the students is, how the images of Babasheb are part of the lives of his followers and the aesthetics of these images. It’s a rare opportunity to see the evolution of the images and their aesthetics.

Sudharak Olwe, Helena Schaetzle, Mahindra Damle 14th april, 2016

Read more




The images are a part of a series of photos taken by photographer Sudharak Olwe at the 11th lane of Kamatipura, Mumbai.



Namdeo Dhasal

The images are scans of photographs with poems by writer and activist Namdeo Dhasal, taken and contributed by Sudharak Olwe.



Illustrations by Uttam Ghosh

The  images are a part of a series of illustrations made by artist Uttam Ghosh for Rediff.





A Tribute To Vilas

Artist Uttam Ghosh’s tribute to Dalit poet, artist and activist Vilas Ghoghre. His painting eventually goes on to become the poster of Anand Pathwardhan’s documentary Jai Bhim Comrade.




Avhaan Natya Manch

Avhaan Natya Manch performing a street play in the late 80’s In front of Mantralaya, Mumbai, as part of the Ambedkar Jayanti celebrations. This particular play was about the rise of communalism and the BJP rath yatras. The image was contributed by Uttam Ghosh.





Nilesh Kumar | Round Table India | 11 December, 2013


6th December, Glimpses of a revolution that changed millions of lives
Daisy Katta and Yogesh Maitreya | Round Table India | 12 December, 2014

Invisible lives: what is missing from plans to develop Mumbai’s huge port lands
Prabir Talukdar, Mayuresh Bhadsavle and Marina Joseph | Scroll | 27 March, 2015

Massive Dalit Protest in Mumbai against Demolition of Ambedkar Bhawan
Nagesh Jadhav | India Resists | 19 July, 2016

In search of Dignity and Justice
The untold story of Mumbai’s conservancy workers by Shudharak Olwe

How Septic Tanks Were Burnt At Jantar Mantar To Make A Powerful Point
Abhimanyu | Youth Ki Awaaz | 13 April, 2016

Ambedkar in Popculture
Photo essay by Rajyashri Goody