Vishal Dadlani, hats off to you! Where’s that online petition? I should sign it, www.smallchange.in, if you must go there too. This is one stand I must applaud.
Rs 350 crores for a Shivaji statue in the sea. Dont get me wrong, I have nothing against Shivaji. Or statues. Or the many pigeons who will find pooping landing areas on various spots on said statue. What did get my goat was the amount being spent on it. Rs 350 crores. That is not peanuts. That is yours and mine hardearned money in these recessionary times, and gosh, I could do with some of it back, you know. I dont think Mumbai would be lesser without this statue in the sea.
The Hindustan Times today has a page 2 article about what Rs 350 crores can get the city of Mumbai, and I would rather have one of those, than said statue. Let private donors and fans of Shivaji chip in their funds to build said statue, appropriate permissions in place and land acquired through legal means and no favour calling or arm twisting.
I would rather Rs 350 crores was spent on a hospital for the poor. A place where there were no forms to be filled out while a person dies waiting in the line to submit the form. Where poor relatives need to scrounge around for funds to organise medicines to let treatment continue.
And yes, an inconic statue like a symbolic one, for eg, The Statue of Liberty which is a New York icon, or the Christ The Redeemer at Rio De Janeiro, does become a landmark for a city. Mumbai could do with such a landmark. Honestly, I’d rather we had a statue of Mahatma Gandhi. Or Mother Theresa.
I would rather Rs 350 crores fed the farmers killing themselves in Vidharba. I would rather the Rs 350 crores ensured that all the children in our city were ensured of an education and one meal a day. I would rather our trains kept up pace with the growth in our city’s population enabling us to travel in conditions that are not subhuman at times. I would rather memorials are built as functional living monuments. Schools. Universities. Hospitals.
And yes, someone needs to tell this lady that she does not a pretty statue make. Nor has she done anything to deserve being immortalised in stone. And statues are constructed of dead people.
What do you think? Go sign.