A STATUE PUT TO SHAME

Rupa Gulab

Hello, there’s a statue in our budget! A very tall statue of an exceptionally tall Congress party leader: Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, also known as The Man Who Wanted The RSS Banned After Mahatma Gandhi Was Assassinated. Now I’m wondering if the plaque on the statue will mention that, or better still, one of the many, many unflattering remarks Sardar Patel made about the RSS. Like this statement, for example: ‘The speeches of the Sangh leaders are poisonous. It is as a result of this venom that Mahatma Gandhi has been assassinated. The followers of the Sangh have celebrated Gandhi ji’s assassination by distributing sweets.’

Interesting, isn’t it, how the RSS-BJP is brazenly pinching icons from the Congress party? Ladies and gentlemen, you are watching history being re-written. Sadly enough, your children will learn distorted versions of the truth. Suddenly, international schools sound far more attractive to me.

Back to the statue now — here are some of its features: 

Name: It will be called the Statue of Unity. I’m falling about laughing, my stomach muscles are aching like I’ve done 2,000 crunches without a break and I think I may have lost at least five inches of tummy flab in the process. Hooray! Yes, a Statue of Unity from a bunch of terribly insecure people who believe majoritarianism is cool, and minorities are just our younger brothers and sisters who should be firmly kept in their place and not be allowed to become baby-making factories.

 

Cost: It will cost anything between Rs 2,500 and 2,000 crore, out of which tax-payers will have to contribute Rs 200 crore whether we want a statue or not! Wonderful! A recent report informed us that one-third of the world’s poor live in India. If we have all that money to throw around, shouldn’t we build the world’s tallest granary instead? Or the world’s largest soup kitchen?

 

Height: At 182 metres, it will be the tallest statue in the world. Tsk, tsk, Sanghis never keep their word. Flashback to a year ago when LK Advani threw a huge sulk about then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi being named prime ministerial candidate. RSS and BJP wallahs rushed to placate him with cooing noises (quite like the pigeons who rather enjoy statues) and proclaimed to the media that Advani was the tallest leader in their party. Shouldn’t they also make a statue of him in the process and ensure that it’s at least an inch taller than Sardar Patel’s statue? They could put stairs inside this one to let people climb up to its head, so we can see what Advani really thought about the demolition of the Babri Masjid. All that talk about him sobbing gently into a hanky doesn’t convince me that he felt bad about it. Even crocodiles shed tears. 

Coming soon: But you know what I predict? Another statue will definitely be built that will upstage Sardar Patel: a statue of current Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He rather fancies himself, see? Of course he will pretend that he doesn’t want a statue of himself but his party members and half-witted fans forced him, and gasp, scary Amit Shah threatened him, so the poor man was helpless.

This, I predict, really will be much taller than the statue of Sardar Patel. It will be more like a mannequin and sport real clothes created by India’s most flamboyant Bollywood designers. Scarves by Italian designers will flutter from its neck, expensive Swiss watches will gleam on its wrist, and the outfit will be changed daily. The statue will be built on huge grounds with catwalks for Fashion Week events. Fashion journalists will be replaced by serious national editors from leading media publications who have already stopped writing deep analytical pieces about politics and have started gushing about the clothes the Dear Leader wears. Yes, this is the biggest statue India is going to get in the future. You have been warned.

This story is from the print issue of Hardnews: AUGUST 2014