A post claiming that “the Congress party has chosen the symbol of Islam as its election symbol” is being shared on social media. Let’s verify the claim made in the post.
Claim: The Congress party has adopted the symbol of Islam as its election symbol
Fact: The Congress party didn’t originally have the ‘Hand’ as its election symbol. It used the ‘Pair of Oxen Carrying a Yoke’ symbol from 1951 to 1969, ‘Cow-calf’ from 1971 to 1977, and ‘Hand’ (an open palm) from 1980 onwards. However, Indira Gandhi was informed about the Emur Bhagwati (Hemambika) statue in Palakkad, Kerala, by her friend Soundara Kailasam. This temple featured an idol with the deity’s hands offering blessings to the devotees rather than a traditional idol. It is believed that this influenced the choice of the hand symbol as the party’s election symbol. In 1982, after winning the election, Indira Gandhi visited this temple, and the hand symbol became associated with her. Hence, the claim made in the post is FALSE.
On conducting a reverse image search of the hand image in the viral post, we discovered numerous similar hand images. We found that these are known as ‘Panja Alam.’ According to the Delhi National Museum, the ‘Panja Alam’ holds significant religious importance and is used during the morning procession of Muharram. These Alams are crafted in various shapes, with the ‘claw’ or ‘protective hand’ shape being regarded as the most sacred. The five fingers of the Panja Alam symbolize the last Prophet Hazrat Mohammad, Hazrat Fatima, Hazrat Ali, Hazrat Hasan, and Hazrat Hussain.
The current Congress party symbol is similar to this symbol. However, there is no evidence to suggest that Congress chose this symbol because of Panja Alam.
Furthermore, the Congress party did not originally utilize this symbol. Following India’s independence, the inaugural general elections took place in 1951-52. During this election, the Congress party, led by Nehru, participated with the symbol of ‘a pair of oxen carrying the yoke.’
In 1969, owing to internal conflicts within the Congress party, Indira Gandhi, backed by the majority of Congress party members, chose to establish a new party known as the Congress(R). The emblem of the Indira Congress or Congress(R) from 1971 to 1977 was the “cow-calf.” However, following the loss of support from 76 out of its 153 members in the Lok Sabha, a new political entity emerged as the Congress(I) in preparation for the 1980 elections, subsequently adopting the open palm symbol of Indira Gandhi.
A journalist named Rashid Kidwai revealed the same in his book ’24 Akbar Road’.
Indira Gandhi made a visit to the Emur Bhagavathy (Hemambika) temple located in Palakkad, Kerala, where the deity is represented by hands blessing the worshipers instead of a traditional idol.
As per a report in the Malayalam newspaper Kerala Kaumudi, Soundara Kailasam, the wife of former Supreme Court judge Justice PS Kailasam, had a close association with the Nehru family. She informed Indira Gandhi about the unique hand statue at the Emuru Hemambika Bhagwati temple, the only one of its kind in India (here and here). Learning about this is believed to have influenced Indira Gandhi’s decision to adopt the hand symbol. Under Indira Gandhi’s leadership, the Congress party achieved a significant increase in seats, surpassing the 1977 results, following the adoption of the hand symbol. Subsequently, during K Karunakaran’s tenure as Chief Minister, Indira Gandhi visited the Emuru Bhagwati temple.
To sum up, there is no evidence that the Congress Party has adopted the symbol of Islam as its election symbol.