Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, also known as the ‘Iron Man of India’, a man who guided the integration of India by bringing 562 princely states together, and thus shaping the current borders of India to large extent. A few days back, world’s tallest statue called Statue of Unity standing at 182 ft was dedicated to this man for his exemplary work. Now, the question is whether it’s a moment of pride for every citizen of this great nation or a matter of concern?
It is easy to recognise why it’s a proud moment for every Indian, with the statue being the tallest in the world, but I think it’s a matter of concern too – because of the huge amount invested in its construction.
Let me tell you some interesting facts about our nation:
1. As the name Statue of Unity suggests, apart from paying tribute to Sardar Patel, the purpose of this statue is to tell the next generation about the great sacrifice made by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and to bring a sense of togetherness among the people. However, is it possible to overcome the barrier of religion, caste, regional which are deeply rooted in our society by constructing a statue of a man with such a great virtue? Wouldn’t it have been better to introduce work done by Sardar Patel and other freedom fighters in our schools’ and universities’ textbooks instead, so that every student could learn about the sacrifices made by our freedom fighters?
2. India is a nation with around 21.9% of its population living below the poverty line, 65 % of its population below the age of 35 years, and unemployment rate just above 3.5%. In a country like ours is it worth spending around 3000 crores upon a statue? No doubt it’s going to boost tourism to some extent and thus provide employment opportunities, but to give a boost to tourism, would it not have been better to improve the law and order situation in our country so that foreign tourists feel safe? Recently, India ranked 137th in the Global Peace Index making it one of the most unsafe countries in the world.
3. Let us compare Statue of Unity with Taj Mahal. According to government data revenue collected from Taj Mahal in the span of three years i.e. from 2013-16 was around Rs 75 crore out of which Rs 11 crore were spent upon its maintenance and conservation. If Statue of Unity takes the position of Taj Mahal having the highest number of tourists in the year, even then it will take around 100 years to recover the amount spent on its construction.
4. Most of the developed nations spend above 2% of its GDP in research and development work. While India, which dreams of becoming superpower spends only 0.8% of its GDP in research and development. It is interesting to note that India would have sent six MOM (Mars Orbiter Mission) in space with this much amount. India, the world’s largest importer of military weapons can definitely reduce its import in the near future if this much amount is invested in research and development.
5. There are many other endeavours where this money can be properly utilised, but due to the political ambition of a few, this huge amount has been flushed.
What if Sardar Patel would have been alive today? Would he feel proud of himself and his nation? Would he not have spent this much amount on some other productive purposes?
What was the point of our freedom fighters freeing our country from the clutches of the Britishers? Is this the country they dreamt of, where people will be divided on the basis of caste, religion, region etc? Where it’s difficult for poor farmers, labourers to survive? Where it’s difficult for a common man to get basic human necessities such as food, clothes, healthcare and education?
So, unless you speak against it, the hard earned money of the citizens would be wasted in order to fulfil the political goals of a few politicians.