In the context of altered perceptions in the new India, our opinion of who is the hero and who is the villain, is imprecise. Heroes have been honoured through many memorials by way of naming roads, localities, printing currency and minting coins or erecting statues, some small, and some gargantuan, to name a few. Carved in stone or forged in metal, statues are designed to make a generation of people gaze upward in awe, and reflect on those who contributed to the evolution of a country or culture.

Statues have attracted the admiration of the infatuated or the ire of the disenchanted. Post-Independence India has gone on a frenzy of statue building. Enormous sums are spent in erecting these statues for the dead, and, in recent times, even for the living. Statues can also lead to unnecessary friction and social tensions which we can live without. The money spent on carving and erecting statues can be better utilised by building schools, hospitals and libraries. Political parties on a statue-spree can let the money come from party funds or the private resources of the person to be honoured (‘Magazine’ – ‘Open Page’, “Statues call on stony ground”, December 29, 2019).

H.N. Ramakrishna,


Though in a larger sense, erecting statues has become more of a public stunt among vested interests, the idea cannot be done away with outright. Statues in any place, besides bringing to instant memory the association that the public figure concerned had with the lives of the people, are also landmarks that aid in easier navigation. The reasoning to make our land free of the ubiquitous statue, does not work as it should be argued that in a few decades from now if our future generations do not see the picture or statue of say the Father of the nation physically, chances of them browsing the Internet to know the profile of such an important national figure are almost nil. Seeing is believing. The suggestion made to divert monies spent on statues to other noble causes is laudable, but then this applies to all other avoidable spendings by a society and its men.

Sivamani Vasudevan,


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Printable version | Feb 23, 2020 11:40:50 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/letters/reflections/article30427676.ece

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