Dubai Pub Draws Flak Over Gandhi Mural

The wall-sized mural at Bar Baar resto-lounge in Dubai shows Mahatma Gandhi wearing bright pink and blue sunglasses, and a rainbow-colored shawl.


A resto lounge in Dubai is facing criticism from the Indian community over a mural that shows Mahatma Gandhi in a “cool” avatar.

The wall-sized mural at Bar Baar at Al Mankhool area in Bur Dubai features Gandhi wearing bright pink and blue sunglasses, with a rainbow colored shawl on his shoulder. The bar, inaugurated at Majestic Hotel Tower in February this year, features several murals, with one graffiti saying, “Do Shot Ki Keemat Tum Kya Jaano.”

Members of the Indian expatriate community in the UAE have expressed concerns over Gandhi’s image on the wall, saying that it hurts the sentiments of the senior generation.

The resto-pub faced criticism after it published reposts featuring the mural’s picture with captions like “trippy bapu,” on Instagram.

Several Indians have informed the Consulate General of India about the issue, Gulf Times reported.

“Senior members of the Indian community are offended with the mural. We have got in touch with the pub management after weighing in the sentiments of the community members. We have requested them to take it off,” Vipul, the Consul General of India to Dubai, told the publication.

Responding to the outrage of the local community members, Sadananda Poojari, the general manager at Bar Baar resto-lounge said that the restaurant showcases many forms of graffiti art and creativity. “We see nothing wrong in the mural as it is not a representation of Gandhi and see no reason to take it down as our customers appreciate it,” Poojari said, according to the report. “We do not in any way mean to hurt the sentiments associated with Indian culture, and will continue our efforts to embrace the best of Indian cuisine.”

Members of the Indian community, however, condemned the painting. Calling the mural “a slap in the face any self-respecting Indian who loves his nation,” Girish Pant, a volunteer member of the Indian Consulate’s community welfare committee, told the publication: “Given the excellent relations India and UAE share, the fact that UAE is celebrating Bapu’s 150th birth anniversary, and also since UAE is opening a Gandhi-Zayed museum, why would anyone use his picture on a pub wall!”

Another Indian expat, Anjana Bhatia, said: “I first saw the image on Instagram. There were hashtags used on the post that said #modernbapu. Moreover, there were some pics uploaded by a blogger- where a woman was dancing in front of it. It is very derogatory. We have an emotional attachment to Mahatma Gandhi. It is a clear insult. In India, it can be punishable by law.”

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