By Sagar S Oct. 30, 2018
When the government gives you the Statue of Unity, take an Oppo front-camera phone and take the best damn selfie you’ve ever taken. In fact, do the classic “Patel Shot”, where it looks like you’re petting Sardar Patel’s head.
Rajeev and Shruti are soon going to have yet another place to publicly engrave their love for each other, as the government prepares to inaugurate the Statue of Unity – India’s answer to every other statue in the world – in Gujarat tomorrow. Coming at a cost of only $430 million (₹2,900 crore), the statue of Sardar Patel is slated to be the tallest in the world. Meanwhile, not content with just winning the battle of potholes, the Maharashtra government plans to counter with an erection of its own. By 2021, a giant Shivaji statue is set to come up off the coast of Maharashtra, which will take over the Sardar Patel statue in both height and complete uselessness to the public.
Somehow Indian governments, state as well as central, have always been obsessed with this idea that monuments – specifically giant statues of great old men – are a new trend among the youth. So they’ve apportioned a significant chunk of money to ensure no person in this country is left deprived of a statue ever again. Move over UN, we have a new humanitarian organisation in the making.
Now before you whine about the government not looking out for you like a little librandu, might I remind you of the saying, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Or in this case, when a melodramatic government gives you two giant statues, you take an Oppo front-camera phone and take the best damn selfie you’ve ever taken. In fact, what you should do, is that thing where you stand really far from the statue and take a photo that makes it look like you’re petting Sardar Patel’s head. It’s called a “Patel Shot” – look it up, I am not making stuff up. Heck, go all out and fleece a lost foreigner at the entrance. The possibilities are endless.
A lot of you might think that ₹2,900 crore is a lot of money for a pile of concrete pride – and instead point out that the other largest statue in the world (in China) cost only $55 million, which is very clearly a lot less. Well, you would be both absolutely correct and also yelling into a void at this point. So just enjoy one of the many peanut vendors the monument area will have to offer. Eat as much paani puri as you can and buy balloons for your neighbour’s son. There isn’t much more water-wise there – the farmers will tell you.
Also most people forget how much money *insert politician’s son-in-law* stands to gain from the contracts to build such statues.
Some of you might insist that building this statue isn’t even an investment, it’s like the government is just blowing away our money. Well, Mr Faux Economist, might I inform you that the Taj Mahal brings in ₹25 crore of revenue every year. Using this logic, it’ll only take 115 years for the State of Unity to make that sweet cash. But to meet targets, we’ll have to invent a legend, involving a loved one, death, and a lot of cruelty.
Also most people forget how much money *insert politician’s son-in-law* stands to gain from the contracts to build such statues. With ₹29,000 crore, he could buy himself an aircraft, a housing colony or two, and get away with building a statue made from cheap plywood and grass, with the help of an electrician who doesn’t know how to work a screwdriver. If that isn’t the Indian dream, we’re not sure what is.
There isn’t much that drives this country crazy the way Bollywood and cricket does. At this point it makes absolute sense to add statues to the list. The posturing (quite literally) isn’t about to end. We could continue complaining and be the people who want clean rivers or demand better maintenance of existing statues. Or we could be proud of living in the first country in the world where just two erections fuck over millions of people. Congrats to us.
Sagar has lived in Mumbai for most of his life. You can often find him complaining about potholes and local trains when he isn't out having a mediocre time.