It has been a marvelously proud moment for every true Indian to witness the gigantic statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel being inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and dedicated to the Nation.
Ironically, at the same time, some vested interest groups like Left-liberals and Marxist Historians and journalists and most importantly those who survive merely by showing their allegiance to the so called first family of our nation have serious discomfort with this kind of honoring to our first Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister for more than one absurd reasons. The reasons attributed are: First being he was a simple man coming from a humble background and hence he would have never appreciated the spend of this magnitude to erect this structure. Second, he lived barely for two and half years post-independence whereas Pandit Nehru served for seventeen long years as PM and hence there is no comparison between the two when it comes to contribution and persona. Third, since Sardar Patel was a farmer leader, an agricultural university in his commemoration should have been a much better idea than committing a whopping Rs 3000 crore to build the tallest statue on the planet. Fourth, BJP has no icons of its own, rather RSS was issuing letter of loyalty to British whereas Congress was fighting with them & therefore just to appropriate the legacy of the Iron man BJP has chosen this path to score some political mileage. Fifth, the day incidentally is the day of martyrdom for ex PM Mrs. Gandhi and it was a petty polarizing politics by ruling party to demean the stature of Indira Gandhi by overstating this grand celebration. Bizarre discussion such as its Patel who banned RSS after the assassination of Gandhiji & lot more in the similar line is happening all over! In a way the intellectuals of our nation have been divided between both sides of the arguments i.e. if it was necessary at all to build this colossal monument.
The paradox is no one recognizes the fact how systematically though concerted efforts, leaders outside the Nehru Gandhi dynasty were erased from the consciousness in all spheres & any attempt to raise them to the level they deserve is seen as wasteful efforts of resources & the opportunity cost i.e. alternative deployment of those funds for other priority affirmative actions are being intensely debated. Even they go to an extent to say the money could have been used for development of Tribal community to curb Maoist violence. Can’t think of greater intolerance than this theory!
How many more monuments, roads, institutions and schemes need to be named after the members of one family?? It gives a general feeling as if others did not exist ever & had no contribution of what so ever. As a country, have we done enough to celebrate the true national figures like Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Gokhle, Baba Saheb Amedkar, Vir Savarkar, Subhas Bose, Lal Bhadur Shastri, Syama Prasad Mukherjee , Pandit madan Mohan Malaviya , Ram Manohar Lohiya, Bhagat Singh, Chandrasekhar Azad, Khudiram.
Pandit Nehru passed away in 1964, was awarded with Bharat Ratna in 1955, Mrs. Gandhi was assassinated in 1984, was awarded with Bharat Ratna in 1971 pretty much looks like both honored themselves. Rajiv Gandhi was an exception he was awarded posthumously. Whereas Sardar Patel who passed away in 1950, was given the Bharat Ratna only after 41 long years i.e. 1991that too by a PM though from Congress party but certainly not a puppet of the Gandhi family who had his own views and of course he had to suffer for his such actions. KM Munsie a minister in the Nehru cabinet writes in his book, office of the PM Nehru issued a directive for the ministers & secretaries not to attend the funeral ceremony when Sardar Patel died though people defied the inhuman dictate & chose to be present at the venue where last rites were being performed for India’s Iron man who was credited with the daunting task of unifying more than 500 princely kingdoms , the architect of modern India Civil service system & most importantly how Nehru made a mess of Kashmir against Sardar Patel’s advice when actually he was touring in Assam because the state was reeling under high flood. Sardar Patel was the one who was pacifying the situation in Delhi when riots broke out in 1947 by deploying force from Pune & Madras, he is the same person who was advising Hindus & Sikhs not to indulge in violence against those Muslims who preferred to be part of Pakistan & passed through Amritsar. Unfortunately, he seldom becomes a subject of serious research not even his contributions have ever found place in school syllabus in details.
Idea of opposing this congratulatory move by which the “Iron Man of our country Rises Again” by the current regime is simply not tenable & rather Prime Minister Modi will be well remembered in history for honoring this unsung hero in this magnificent way who deserved much more than many who unduly have been in the lime light for 70 years. Make no mistake, this statue has the potential of making him more alive than ever before and certainly would trigger the nationalist spirit in every citizen visiting the monument apart from the high scale global tourism avenues it’s going to open up.
(Views are personal)