Patna: Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Monday released a postal stamp on emperor Ashoka while announcing that stamps would also be released soon to honour former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam and Bihar’s mountain man Dashrath Manjhi. “This postal stamp in honour of Ashoka would be available for sale in the post offices,” he said while releasing the Rs.5 stamp. Prasad said Kalam, a Bharat Ratna who died last month, was an icon and Manjhi, who single-handed cut through a hill to make a road for his village in Bihar’s Gaya district died in 2007 in his early 80s.
Last week a biopic based on Manjhi’s life, Manjhi-the ‘Mountain Man’, was released in cinemas across the country. Prasad said he would also propose to senior Bharatiya Janata Party leaders to install a big statue of Ashoka in Patna and Delhi. In May, Prasad had announced to release the postal stamp during a BJP function here to celebrate the birth anniversary of Ashoka. Some BJP leaders claimed that Ashoka belonged to the present-day agrarian caste Kushwaha but historians and experts have refuted the claim. The Kushwahas, an Other Backward Class community, account for nearly 9 percent of Bihar’s 10.5 crore population.