The Issue :
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj laid the foundations of the Maratha Empire in India in the 16th Century.
He has been in the news recently due to the actions proposed by the Maharashtra Government.
A staggering Rs 350 crore has been earmarked for a colossal memorial to honour him. It will be in the middle of the Arabian Sea and at 321 feet, the tallest statue in the world.
The model of the memorial for Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj
The Protest :
Music Director Vishal Dadlani has started an online petition to stop the building of the statue.
One can support this endeavor by adding your name in the petition list at http://smallchange.in
Dadlani’s quest was inspired by a Facebook message posted by theatre guru Rahul Da Cunha :
“Is NO ONE furious that they are building a statue in the middle of the ocean, without asking us and with our money?”
The great Hero Shivaji : exploited by Politicians?
What one likes about this endeavor are the precise points raised.
Sample this :
(1) On Comparison with the Statue of Liberty.
P : “How can they cite Statue of Liberty as an example, when it was a gift to the Americans?”
(France gifted the iconic American statue to the US in recognition of the friendship established during the American Revolution.)
(2) Govt : The 300-feet high statue will be a major tourist attraction in the city.
P : These funds could be better utilised in providing drought relief for starving Maharashtrian farmers, investing in the crumbling infrastructure of Mumbai, strengthen and better equip our Police Force and Coast Guard in light of the terrorist attacks on Mumbai last year etc
Its a well written strong petition by Vishal. If one agrees with his stand on the issue, then it would make sense to show support via his site.
Vishal will submit a PIL (Public Interest Litigation) in the High Court when the 25 K mark is reached.
Though its not clear as to why this petition requires the magic 25k supporters mark , Vishal states that “The figure that we have arrived at after consultation with our lawyer, Kiran Desai, is 25,000 signatures. That will make the petition carry more weight.””
My 2 Cents :
With all politicians (even the opposition) supporting the construction of the statue just to save their own vote banks, Its refreshing to see media personalities like Vishal take a stand on issues which concern the people.
While it would be nice to see a monument on the lines of the Statue of Liberty right here in Mumbai, I feel it can wait…..there are more pressing basic issues at hand which need to be resolved first…issues that cant be ignored by the sane.