A Statue For The Sake Of Unity, Or To Indulge Hyper-Nationalism?

The Statue of Unity, the tallest statue in the world, depicting Vallabhbhai Patel’s motto of unity, was announced to be India’s pride. Ironically, the locals living in the vicinity of the statue dissented from the statement made on October 31, 2018, that the statue is Gujarat’s tribute to the nation, or the statue being the country’s pride. This is because they were the ones to face the crude reality, that their livelihood was hit by the construction of the statue, whose ground was previously agricultural land, with no compensation received from the government even after the acquisition.

A few days back, as the Prime Minister’s birthday celebrations were held on one side of the Narmada, the other side of the river was filled with the agony of the locals, of how their years of struggle was taken from them, and till date no compensation was paid, their ongoing struggle to survive with rising water level in the Narmada, and the water pollution due to the ongoing development of the land around the statue. There were also a lot of protests by the tribal community in the Narmada district about the expense of the statue’s construction, which is estimated to be 2,900 crores, while the district suffered from lack of government hospitals and the minimal infrastructure needed for a decent living.

Image Credit: Getty Images

The crisis with the statue doesn’t end there, as a lot of workers at the statue protested about non-payment of their wages and how they were left with no options. Where a national social movement like Narmada Bachao Andolan, headed by farmers, activists and common man to save the river and create awareness on the environment within the people, was taking place for a good cause, a statue was built on the banks of the same river which added more miseries to the people whose livelihood relies on the river. After reading through these lines, it is a highly ironic matter, that in a district where locals are struggling for sustainable infrastructure for their existence, we are spending government funds on a statue. It also raises the question of whether the statue really did succeed in its intention of redefining a national leader’s motto, or it was just a whim of a single person.

Featured Image credit: Sam Panthaky/AFP/Getty Images

Do you find online payments safe?

Take this survey and help companies and the government make online payments safer for you.

Take the Survey
Similar Posts

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below