India: Making SIZE matter

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

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India: Making SIZE matter

Sidharth Bedi Varma | November 03, 2018 14:49 hrs


A grand statement by the BJP Government last week was to erect the tallest statue in the world. The move, although strong, has been strongly criticized by people, which of course has become the norm these days.

 

But is the public rant justified? Can we not, for once, make an attempt to understand the possible intricacy of the ‘soft’ move? While I personally criticize the government’s actions at the policy and political level, I can’t help but equate this move with a Chinese government parallel. The Chinese government has been building museums all across the country, strategically enhancing their ‘cultural’ power. While countries in the east are said to be ‘culturally rich’ and America is mocked for culturally deficient, this cultural superiority for east and southeast Asian countries has to be made an asset; this statue hints at that direction.

 

A few colleagues asked me about the wastefulness of spending almost Rs 3000 crores on a statue and the miserliness of the government in sanctioning funds during national calamities. Well, look at one as an investment and the other as ‘funds that would be spent’ with no returns.

 

There of course is the obvious parallel between the Statue of Liberty (SOL) and the Statue of Unity (SOU). The SOL stands as a landmark in the US. People flock to the Liberty Island like pigeons, take photographs, create social conversations and the country has been earning dividends from the same for decades now.

The idea is to make the SOU a landmark in Indian history. Yes, Vallabhbhai Patel is an important person in Indian history, but whether he deserves to be there is debatable between political factions. Also, this is something we shouldn’t really be bothered about. The statue isn’t coming down at any cost; might as well embrace the history that it brings with it.

 

In less than 10 years, foreign and domestic tourists alike are going to flood the internet with this monument and this adds to the ‘cultural’ power that India should possibly leverage.

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