Here is why I am happy with the Statue of Unity rather The Statue of Change
“The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”
It has been more than a month since the world’s tallest statue “The Statue of Unity” was inaugurated by our prime minister. Even before the event it touched some nerve leading to deafening cry; writers, bloggers, news anchors, politicians were found using chicanery to win some battle. It is a waste of tax payers’ money, there would not be enough tourists, the location is not appropriate for tourists and so on and so forth. Since, there have been official claims that the tourist destination is witnessing around 30,000 visitor every day, we can put the tourism related concerns in a bag. Although, unlike the exercise of conducting exit polls which are completely futile, non-value add, wasteful and have no impact whatsoever, the debate on why the Statue is a waste might have affected the assembly elections that took place recently.
The statue not only emboldens the role of the Iron Man of India in shaping up the country but also signifies a Change, a change in governance, a change that neither Congress nor its supporter can live with; and had to downplay it. When was the last time we saw a minister inaugurating something for which he himself laid the foundation stone? The then chief minister Mr. Narendra Modi laid the foundation for the statue in 2013 and he himself as the prime minister inaugurated it within five years.
What we are accustomed of is an IIT alumni chief minister fiercely fighting to take credit for a signature bridge that took whooping twenty years to complete and was still incomplete at the time of inauguration. Pseudo-intellectuals claim that “the development did not start after 2014, the Indian GDP was growing before as well.” Indeed, the development did not star after 2014. But the thing is you do not walk in a sprint and claim that you were trying. The countries that did not even have a functional civilian governments also grew at some rate. India, a country of billion plus people should have grown at rate greater than at the rate it was growing. It is not difficult to find countries who got independence after us but are at a better place than us.
If the intentions are right government projects don’t always need eons to complete.
The naysayers during the next level mudslinging contest added some genuine concerns. A poor country like India needs to fight poverty and unemployment, it needs schools, colleges and hospitals and not temples or statues. In addition to this there are myriad of ancient monuments that need proper maintenance. I agree to all these concerns and I also believe that PM Modi is doing exactly that. One question before I go ahead; in 2013 when the foundation was laid, BJP was ruling less than five states in the country. Where are the schools and hospitals in the other 20+ states ruled by Congress or other regional parties? State like Kerala did not even have a disaster management team and they tend to compete with Gujarat Model of Development. All these states did not built temples or world’s tallest/largest/first/biggest anything. Did they?
As far as maintenance is concerned last year PM Modi announced an “adopt a monument” scheme. You would have remembered the huge uproar left-liberals created. In short, if it is heads I win and if it is tails you loose. By the way do you know the reason as to why the monuments were not maintained even though there were funds allocated for this purpose? You could start with finding the group of people receiving the funds for the maintenance of Red Fort before Dalmia Group was made accountable for the next five years. Or do you think no body was receiving crores before? Accountability might be the reason.
Smart people made so many calculations as to how many years will take to break even or if at all it breaks even. But where did this 3000 crores go? Is the statue made up of 2000 rupee bills(or may be the old 500/1000 rs bills)? I think the money went to the people who either sold different raw-materials or employees of different firms/entities who used their skills to build the world’s tallest statue. As per L&T CEO and MD S N Subrahmanyan, “The Statue of Unity, apart from being a symbol of national pride, and integration is also a tribute to India’s engineering skills and project management abilities.” The experience and exposure would be used in future. The hosting district gets contracts to improve the connectivity, highways, bridges and railways. Connectivity is the key for development, Congress and its supporters will not agree to this as they didn’t do it for the last 70 years. They are not upset because of unemployment, they are upset because some people or group of people or community that used to get money in the form of freebies and subsidies are not getting it any more and the people who work are earning.
The big mindset change that Modi Government is trying to bring is earning by working and getting richer by working hard in contrast to depending on state for receiving freebies or charity.
Coming back to 3000 Crores. Out of this, the center government’s contribution was less than 200 crores, some contribution was made by private companies, some by public sector companies and rest by Gujarat government. How big is 3000 crores? Just to give a perspective, the state of Maharashtra makes more than 3000 crores by taxes levied on alcohol (spirits and beers) consumption and that too in only three months. There can be several other examples like this- Reliance has added more than Rs 2,88,000 Crores in last ten years to the national exchequer in the form of taxes or twenty eight thousand a year on an average i.e. nine times the amount used for the statue. Where was all this money going all these years? used in appeasement?
In fact it is with everything that PM Modi does. Bullet train, we don’t want it, Statues we don’t need it, Temples we don’t need it however, when we travel to a different country, we find the exact same things interesting. Our eyes glitter when we travel in an Inter City Express that runs at 320 kmph; we get mesmerized when we see gigantic Cathedrals and Churches. We spend our savings just to climb to the second floor of Eiffel Tower. I simply cannot understand why people oppose these things in India? Is it because Modi is doing these things? or because the “Gandhi” is getting sidelined or because the Mughalia-Sultanate is getting sidelined? Or because the people with self respect, who work, are getting empowered? The reality is if people are getting opportunities like this they would never be a part of vote banks. To win elections, parties would have to work. Why would some parties who feed on vote banks like this?
The left-liberals had to somehow bring their love for Mughalia-Sultanate into the debate. So they compared the statue with none other than, their favorite Taj-Mahal; although there are 34 other UNESCO World Heritage sites in Indian. A thought! the professionals who directly or indirectly contributed in building the statue would have put it in their resumes for obvious reasons. Did the professionals who contribute in building Taj-Mahal do that? I heard some one took their hands along with their resumes. Yes, Taj-Mahal is an architectural masterpiece but it is one of the many such sites in India. As far as its inclusion in the list of wonders of the world, I could not find any document stating that other than the 2006-07 the new seven wonders contest organized by a Swiss private company. In fact some Indian Media houses invested a lot of money for getting Taj in that list (vote for Taj campaign).
By the way since Taj Mahal is already mentioned, how is it a token of undying and everlasting love? If only Mumtaz Mahal was using facebook, her time line would look something like this:
Born -27 April 1593
Married – 30 April 1612 (second wife)
Feeling loved with eight others
Feeling lucky to be the favorite wife of all 9 wives
Feeling blessed – A baby
Feeling blessed – A baby again and again and again (total 14)
Love kills!!!! 17 June 1631
Where is love in all this? How do you define love? Although, she died during the child birth of her fourteenth child, but sources claim that Shah Jhan had something to do with that. She was a very clever woman. As per the stories, she nudged the emperor to bet his throne in a game of chess which he lost and she won. She ascends the throne, giving free rein to her ruthlessness and ambition. This is where the emperor realizes that she has to be stopped. She supposedly falls and dies. Was she pushed or it was an accident?
Thanks for reading!
An FPGA/Embedded Systems Development Engineer working on ADAS / Autonomous Vehicles and interested in Indian Politics.