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Statues and Sheer Stupidity

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi speaking after laying the foundation stone of the Statue of Unity at Kevadia in Gujarat. Former Deputy Prime Minister and senior BJP leader L K Advani is also seen.
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi speaking after laying the foundation stone of the Statue of Unity at Kevadia in Gujarat. Former Deputy Prime Minister and senior BJP leader L K Advani is also seen.
I have nothing against statues. They look nice and pigeons love them. But the one they are planning for Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and making it the largest in the world baffles me. 
 
What is this thing Indian politicians have about statues, they are constantly setting up folks on pedestals. This erudite freedom fighter known as the Bismarck of India, a towering man who fought for independence with unwavering zeal doesn’t need a statue…especially from those whose stature is that of pygmies and who have no idea about what happened 60 years ago and the trials and sacrifices made. 
 
Not that I do but I am not making the statue. They are, and virtue is being found in this foolish exercise and the hypocrisy is breathtaking. 
 
Even the media is drawing little graphics of how India is going to have the biggest statue in the world. Wow, awesome. We also have the highest level of slavery, rape and other such goodies. But we are going to have a statue and isn’t that just splendid. 
 
 Sardar Patel needs to be emulated for what he achieved in his life, and if he is watching from somewhere he must be truly furious. Spartan, austere, correct and meticulous as an academic he created the Indian civil services and had a modern and forward thinking approach to matters. Not all this flim flam. 
 
He would have called this the height of wastefulness. And that would have been just right. You want to remind 6 billion people of whom 99% have no clue who he is then do it the right way. Teach them of his life like the South Africans do Mandela. We just make statues.
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You want to commemorate a legend make a hospital in his name, open an orphanage, start a series of schools…do something worthwhile. 
 
Statues don’t help anyone. Complete and utter nonsense. With no redeeming feature whatsoever. How many of you reading this can even speak of the Sardar for 30 seconds with any authority. Not even a minute, just half of it.
 
And yet, in the current Modi wave (same state, mate,what a coincidence?) it has been decided that they will build a statue. This is fawning flattery taken to a whole new level. Is this the road map for the future? 
 
Sardar Vallabhai Patel was India’s first deputy Prime Minister. He was also the Home Minister. Bet you did not know that. He was from Gujarat and he was succeeded by another Gujarati, Morarji Desai who later became PM. Bet you did not know that.
 
They called him the Iron Man of the nation. No, that’s not a video game. So don’t go looking for it. There is a whole school that believed he should have been Prime Minister, not Nehru. Yes, it is true. 
 
And what exactly is this huge statue going to do for the people? The pigeons will love it but that is about all. Stop it. Now. And show some courtesy to one of India’s historical architects. 
 
 
 
Bikram Vohra
Bikram Vohra
Bikram Vohra has been editor of Gulf News, Khaleej Times, Bahrain Tribune, Emirates Evening Post and helped in setting up Gulf Today.
 
The views expressed here are personal and do not necessarily reflect the views of NetIndian.

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