Saturday, July 04, 2009

Mayawati and her statues

“She is spending Rs 1000 crore on establishing statues of elephants and herself. Can there be something more shameful than this in Indian politics,” he asked.

“Of what use will be the statues in UP. The Rs 1000 crore could have helped wipe out poverty of thousands of people, provide basic amenities and education.." he said, addressing a meeting to thank voters of his constituency Sivaganga.

Behenji is in news again. Prabin, Kufr and RW react to PC in defence of Mayawati, and Anu counters it:

"..this from the leader of a party which has named universities, museums, planetariums, zoos, sanctuaries, sanatoriums, hospitals, art galleries, theatres, dams, power projects, schools, colleges, awards, streets, highways, bridges, poverty alleviation schemes, employment schemes, farmer support schemes, housing schemes, health schemes, loan schemes, airports, railway stations, bus stations, sanitation schemes, social security schemes, industrial townships, parks, elephants and tigers and other faunae, educational scholarships and fellowships, research grants, stadia, gyms, traffic junctions, office buildings etc after members of one family. with public money..", says Kufr. [Read complete post: A cure for that Madness]

* * *

"What is missing in such ‘common sense’ perceptions is that Mayawati along with Kanshi Ram, like all innovators and path breakers, has been an iconoclast of the highest order. Between the two of them, they have created for the first time in Indian history a successful party representing some of the poorest and socially ostracized masses of the country. Like it or not, it is an unprecedented achievement.."

"..It is possible that she may gain a popular following by installation of these statues. It is possible too that this may boomerang. Even in the latter case, it is certain that she shall leave behind powerful symbols that will inspire future social struggles. In either case, it is a political advance for dalit and alternative politics..", goes a reader's words.

* * *

Why I am Proud of the Statues, writes Prabin on Round table at Insight young voices.

* * *

Anu disagrees with all three of them. "..not because I don’t value, the in the face attitude and literally in their lives -life size statues reminding the upper castes that times are a changing, no not at all, I love it. I just happen to want more, much much more from her.." (I disagree).

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Tailpiece: There were expected expressions of shock when I said I'd rather want Mayawati as PM [See: Election time..]. Another friend said while on a visit to Lucknow earlier this year: "she is making statues of herself probably because she knows nobody would do it after her death." I ask, when she knows that -- and you and me also know it -- how can we blame her for making those statues?

[Image courtesy: Insight]


I'm said...

To add a note, Mayawati's is the the largest air fleet in the country!

Follow the link

Ravi said...

The one and only reason why we should blame Mayawati is that she is not holding her post to do what she is doing (creating her own statues). That no-one would create statues for her after her death may be correct from her viewpoint, but that need not be logical for others and should not be accepted as argument just because it is logical to her. And regarding Congress naming everything they can after the Family, well, it doesn't mean that what congress or Mayawati is doing is right. In short, it is nothing but loot of public money (your and mine).

Sudeep said...

Dear Ravi,

Is it a CM's job to build statues? Yes and no. Building statues, building roads, building dams, buying weapons, building malls, building houses.. Governments do so many things. I have felt many times that a lot of it is a waste of money. Of mine and yours. But that is my opinion.

Well, Chidambaram can also have his opinion, you can have yours. However, as a matter of fact, it is only when Mayavati does it that 'statues' become so much a 'loot'. To media, to the middle class, to you, and to many others.

I can put a lot of arguments in favour of that money spent. That it benefits artisans, it brings in some balance in the number of the statues of Dalit leaders (people who others don't want to even admit as leaders, let alone make their statues - that was my point when I said nobody else will make it for her).

Thankfully, at least the Supreme Court has refused to intervene in making of monuments and statues. In the context of a Dalit monument in Noida, they said for a project that has already been approved by the cabinet, there is no reason judiciary should intervene as long as there are no complaints of misappropriation of funds.

And yes, a lot of people in UP also have their opinion, and their opinions do count now (unlike say, 20 years back, when Brahmins and Kshatriyas voted in their names). That is how Mayavati became CM. Whether she can live upto the trust that people showed in her is something that history will tell our children.

Sudeep said...

A friend scraps on orkut:

"i liked this new style... clean .. color is much better than before... and new post well i told u i was surprised to see ur election time post.. anyway i loved the last "Tailpiece... good one...."

Thanks, H.

Ravi said...

Dear Sudeep,

IMHO Supreme court refused to intervene, because the decision itself (whether to build statues or not) is an executive decision and is out of scope of its jurisdiction unless something illegal happens. Secondly, I think main problem people are having is she is building her own statues. There would lot of CMs who will build their mentors', idol's statues, but very few are there (do you know anyone else?) who build their own statues. Because of this, one may infer that mayawati is a self-obsessed person and doubtful of permanance of her own contribution (that's why her own statues), but that is a smaller point.

The important point is this. After so many years, there is some dalit woman who is leading a state and she is being looked at by some as a probable PM candidate. Lot of people cutting across different castes (including brahmins, kshatriyas and others who voted for her as in last election) and faiths (Muslims and others) have shown faith in her abilities. She should utilise this opportunity to show that she cares most for welfare of her people than anything else. If she does it, then she will become a national leader as a natural consequence and castes will be broken in true sense in India. On the other hand, if she continues spending time and money on useless things, she would prove herself as just another community leader and no different than others. And most importantly, in doing this, she will sterotype the dalit movement and hence block the future of many others in dalit communities who could be future leaders. Similar things happenned in Maharashtra with the Republican party movement and same can repeat with her. So, she needs to be more responsible and careful.

Sudeep said...

Ravi, all I want to say (again) is that what you find 'useless' may not be seen the same way by everyone.

"I dreamt of writing OUR history
A dream never come true.

They- the historians- were busy
Blogging and loitering in Facebook pages
(their Orkut profiles stand deleted, reasons best known to them)

Then came her
And she wrote OUR history.

SHE gave us visibility
So now, WE can afford to be ‘invisible’.

Etched in the grandeur of culture
OUR history in stone stands tall.

Burn Shelley’s Ozymandias

It will never tell OUR story
And WE don’t need YOUR Shakespeare, Tagore and Gandhi..

WE have OUR history
WE have our dream!"

[History in Stone, by Ranjith.]