Inside the Mind of the Sardar Patel Statue


Inside the Mind of the Sardar Patel Statue

Illustration: Shruti Yatam


loody hell, I thought only minorities and rationalists were supposed to fear for their life and die for possessing beef or riling up the right. But turns out, we statues aren’t safe here either. Even if you don’t own a refrigerator or an opinion, you are no longer safe in this country. What must one do?

Within a week, I have seen the downfall of comrade Lenin, Tamil icon EV Ramasamy, and BJP icon Syama Prasad Mookerjee. Lenin was the first to go in Tripura, and before this, the only Russians we were familiar with were the ones in Goa. This was also when many of us finally realised that Lenin is not the same person as Stalin.  

Statues are falling faster than the sensex. How does any work get done in this country, what with people protesting movies, destroying public property, and causing ruckus all day? Weren’t they all employed and making pakodas?

How did we get here? At one point, it was toll booths – now statues are the easy targets, collateral damage for petty political battles. While the left and the right argue, we are stuck in a fight where we don’t so much as get a word in edgeways. I now understand what it’s like to be Anushka Sharma every time Virat Kohli gets out on a duck.

Should I be worried about myself? I’m supposed to be the Statue of Unity, but at this point, unity is about as far-fetched an idea as acche din. I am supposed to be big and inspiring at 182 metres, but if you want to know the truth, beneath all this outward grandeur, I’m actually confused as hell.

On odd days, we love statues, on even days, we hate statues.

For I’m not really sure what our stand on statues is anymore. On odd days, we love statues, on even days, we hate statues. We love one type of figure, but hate some other. When we love statues, we believe they will generate tourism revenue and benefit for the region; when we hate them, they turn into “a waste of money and resources” overnight. Can we please settle this once and for all? #GoBustOrGoHome yaar!

I don’t want to have the same fate as Lenin with kids playing football with my severed head 20 years from now. When did we become a football-loving country? Last I checked we were still obsessing over Kohli and Dhawan dancing at some random wedding!  

For starters, we didn’t ask to be built. One set of politicians used taxpayers’ money to create us and another set of politicians uses the same funds to destroy us. When they got votes from us, we were offered flowers and garlands. After the elections, we are left to roast in the sun? We’ve been discarded the same way employees at PNB discarded ethics and morals. And don’t even get me started on the pigeons who think of us as their sulabh shauchalayas.

So if we’ve remained shut all this while, why go for our heads? As if razing some statue will erase centuries of history? All you’ve done is gotten rid of a landmark and now the Flipkart delivery guy is going to curse you forever.

In these uncertain times, I can only imagine how anxious Gandhiji must be. He has more statues in the country than we have roads. Mera kya hai? I can count on my surname to get past this phase.

It’s been a good year for Gujaratis. Ask any Modi, Adani, or Ambani.