News World India inaugurates world's tallest statue to celebrate independence hero

India inaugurates world’s tallest statue to celebrate independence hero

India on Wednesday inaugurated the world’s tallest statue, a $400-million effigy of independence hero Vallabhbhai Patel that towers nearly twice the height of New York’s Statue of Liberty.

The 182-metre (597-ft) steel and bronze “Statue of Unity”, in the prime minister’s western home state of Gujarat, is part of his Hindu nationalist party’s efforts to re-brand what it calls “forgotten” leaders.

“Patel wanted India to be a forceful, strong, sensitive, vigilant and accommodative nation, and we’re working towards that,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said at Wednesday’s ceremony.

Modi, who ordered the statue built on the Narmada river when he was Gujarat chief minister, said last year there had been efforts to “belittle” or “remove from history” the contributions of Patel, who helped unite India’s 562 princely states as the first home, or interior, minister.

Funds for the statue came from the federal government, state-run companies and other institutions, and it was built in 33 months by construction and engineering company Larsen & Toubro Ltd.

Depicting the bald Patel in traditional attire, with a shawl over the shoulders, the statue used 210,000 cubic metres of cement, 25,000 tonnes of steel and 1,700 tonnes of bronze.

Some of the leaders Modi has branded as “forgotten” came from the opposition Congress party, and fought for independence from colonial ruler Britain in 1947.

Facing five state elections and a general election due by May, Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are reaching back into history for alternatives to the heroes of the Nehru-Gandhi family that dominated Congress.

The BJP says Congress has deliberately ignored leaders such as Patel, B.R. Ambedkar, who led the drafting of the constitution, and freedom fighter Subhas Chandra Bose.

The accusations are a distortion of history, says Congress, which ruled India for much of its independence history and is now led by Rahul Gandhi, the great-grandson of Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first prime minister.

“Ironic that a statue of Sardar Patel is being inaugurated, but every institution he helped build is being smashed,” Gandhi said on social network Twitter, using an honorific for Patel.

“The systematic destruction of India’s institutions is nothing short of treason.”

Some political commentators have criticised Modi for his expenditure on the statue complex at a time when the adivasi indigenous people who farm the land acquired for it are in economic straits and have protested against it.

“You would surely ask, on whose land would this statue stand? Whose plan was this?” social activist Medha Patkar wrote in what she called an open letter to Patel.

“This land, river, forest that your avatar is going to stand on, belongs to adivasis.”

(Reuters)

Top Stories

Paralimni: Biker injured, police looking for driver who left scene

  A 23 year old biker has been hospitalised after a traffic accident in Paralimni and police are looking for the driver of a vehicle...

Sporadic COVID-19 infections “part of our new normality,” says health expert

    Sporadic COVID-19 infections should become part of our new normality and should not be a concern until they are reduced to zero for ever,...

€73 m deficit in January – April 2020 as Covid-crisis takes toll

    The Cyprus General Government generated a deficit of €73 million or 0.4% for the period of January – April 2020, reflecting the adverse consequences...

GDP growth rate at 0.8% in Q1 2020, CyStat estimates

    GDP growth rate in Cyprus based on seasonally and working day adjusted data in real terms in the first quarter of this year is...

Mainly fine, possible showers in the afternoon

  Weak low pressure is affecting the area and today will be mainly fine although in places there will be cloud at intervals which early...

Taste

Local cuisine: An introduction

Rich in fresh ingredients and tasty herbs, offers the very best of Mediterranean culinary delights. Head out to a tavern and feast on a...

Spiced lamb with beetroot salad and scented yoghurt

Lay the lamb on a tray, skin side down. Rub with crushed garlic, sprinkle with spices and ground pistachios, wrap in plastic wrap and...

Easy seafood pasta with white wine sauce

Ingredients: 2-3 tbsp olive oil 1 garlic clove, chopped 2-3 tablespoons of whipped cream 1/3 cup white wine 300g spaghetti, roughly broken 300-400g of...

Traditional salads that will blow your mind away

This traditional salads will make you actually love salads! Cyprus may be famous for souvla and kleftiko but if you try the traditional salads with...