On paper, the new ‘visit India’ poster from the Indian Embassy in Warsaw was almost flawless. A perfectly toned traveller serenely practicing the vrksasana yoga pose in front of a stunning backdrop of green valleys and snow-capped Himalayan peaks. The message? Come to India and find outer beauty and inner peace – beautifully simple and clear as a Himalayan stream.
There was only one problem. The photo did not show the stunning green valleys and snow-capped Himalayan peaks of India, but the stunning green valleys and snow-capped Himalayan peaks of neighbouring Nepal – a textbook error that even the most junior embassy employee should have picked up on.
In fact, the view was of Mt Machhapuchhre, the legendary ‘fishtail’ mountain in the Annapurna mountain range and one of Nepal’s most recognised natural landmarks. As the poster was proudly displayed in front of the embassy, it didn’t take long for people to spot the mistake, and the story went viral on social media after Nepali poster Rajeesh Shreshtra rather bluntly pointed out the mistake. For this to happen during India’s Independence Day celebrations only compounded the embarrassment.
In the resulting barrage of tweets, Nepalis waxed lyrical about India hijacking their spectacular scenery, with one describing the campaign as being like ‘borrowing a neighbour’s jewellery to get into a party’. The poster has since been taken down and the embassy has issued a formal apology for the mix-up.