Shivaji statue proposal welcomed by Mumbaikars

June 4th, 2008 - 2:45 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, June 4 (IANS) The state government’s decision to install a 300-feet statue of Shivaji in the Arabian Sea off Mumbai has been largely welcomed by residents and political parties alike. Lauding the Democratic Front government’s move, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) state general secretary Vinod Tawde said that the decision had come late, “but better late than never to honour the memory of the great leader Chhatrapati Shivaji”.

“However, merely installing the statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji is not enough. The government must also follow the ideals of the revered hero of Maharashtra and India and act for the upliftment of the poor, downtrodden, the farmers and other deprived sections of society,” Tawde said.

Shiv Sena leader Subhash Desai, welcoming the move, wondered why the government took four years to select the statue site.

“It was part of the Congress manifesto four years ago, but now with state and general elections round the corner they are rushing ahead with it. If they think they can fool the people of the state, they are mistaken,” Desai said.

Tina Films International associate producer Ramya Iyer said that the statue will give a much-needed “face” to Mumbai.

“Until now, Mumbai is symbolised by the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) Building or the Gateway of India. With the Chhatrapati Shivaji statue, Mumbai will be on par with cities like Sydney, New York, Paris, London, Moscow, Dubai, Kuala Lumpur and others which are identifiable by a distinct local landmark,” Ramya said.

However, Dean of Students Welfare of SNDT Women’s University Nilufer Ahmed said that the statue cannot be a monument since there is already the Gateway of India in the same vicinity.

“Moreover, why should we only build a statue of only Shivaji when there are so many other heroes who sacrificed their lives for India,” she asked.

Media professional Pritish Nandy said that although Chhatrapati Shivaji is a great hero, it does not mean “everything in Mumbai” should have Chhatrapati Shivaji. “We should also remember the other great heroes right from Shaheed Bhagat Singh to Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose or Sri Aurobindo,” he said.

Adman Piyush Pandey feels that the state government’s move to honour Chhatrapati Shivaji must be taken positively. “He is a national hero and the statue will be a monument which will keep alive his memory for future generations,” he said.

Film director Amol Shetge said that Indians have developed a tendency to build and worship statues and idols, instead of their ideals.

“It is time we stop making statues but instead follow the ideals that great leaders like Chhatrapati Shivaji preached, which are relevant even today,” Shetge said.

Middle-class homemaker Minakshi K. feels that although the move is laudatory, “is it really necessary to spend such a huge amount of money to create a symbol for Mumbai?”

According to her, there are more urgent issues like housing for the poor, education or employment opportunities which need the government’s attention. Probably, these would be a better way to honour Chhatrapati Shivaji’s memory, she said.

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