Why I Think The ₹3,600 Crore Shivaji Statue Is Worth It

Posted by Vijay Salvi in Politics, Society
January 2, 2017

On 30th December 2016 Youth Ki Awaaz had published an article which was a take on the statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj to be built by the Government of Maharashtra in the Arabian Sea off the coast of Mumbai. While trying to criticise the move taken by the Government it had put forward some misleading facts saying that Shivaji Maharaj was a Hindu ruler who only fought against Muslims. He, as we can see in our very own historical texts, fought against the foreign rulers, most of them coincidentally were Muslims. Shivaji was one of the secular and pro-people kings in our history whose army consisted of many Muslim generals. He believed in the concept of people’s government and swarajya or self- rule. An argument has been made in the article that rulers such as Aurangazeb, Taimur and Sher Shah Suri are only looked at from one perspective and their had some good side is ignored.

I don’t know how someone such as Aurangzeb who kept his own father in house arrest and killed his brother to sit on the throne, someone who oppressed not only Hindu but also Muslim population of the territories he captured; should be considered as our country’s heritage. Whereas someone such as Shivaji who respected all the religions and respected the people living in his kingdom should be looked down upon because he was a Hindu by birth. An argument has also been made that the tombs, mosques and palaces built by Muslim rulers are not considered as cultural heritages. As we can see by the examples of Taj Mahal, Humayun’s Tomb, Qutub Minar, Bibi ka Maqbara, Char Minar that this argument is baseless.

Coming to the decision taken by the government regarding the construction of the statue, it’s a great move which will help in the development of tourism in India. Many criticised the move calling it a waste of money, which is incorrect as the statue’s construction will provide job opportunities and also improve the branding of our country. Who wouldn’t like to visit the world’s tallest statue? The island created in the sea will have a museum and a library which will help in the spreading of our history and culture to the rest world. The fishermen community have also been assured that their livelihoods won’t be destroyed. On the contrary, it will be an opportunity for them as the only way to reach the island will be with the help of boats.

It has also been said that instead of building a statue we should preserve Shivaji’s heritage which are the forts built by him, which is completely true. With the construction of the statue the government should also make efforts to try and preserve not only the forts but also his real heritage which is his ideology of governance and his beliefs and his morals. The ₹3,600 crore going to be spent on this monument is really worth it! We all should stand behind this good decision taken by government instead of being a victim of someone’s political agenda.