Former VC North Gujarat University.
Do we need a Ratan Tata to tell his Nano-host that the concern for human development index for Gujarat dictates that Rs. 2000 Crores has several alternative uses for improving quality of life of down-trodden and needy and for enhancing their dignity as human beings?
Shall we furnish arithmetic of Rs. 2000 crores as equivalent options in number of good and functioning primary schools, primary healthy centres and potable as well as reliable water supply system for each village in the State?
Sardar is the tallest of the tallest for all the time. Does he need artificial and physical height to be visible for being inspirational to the generations to come? Sardar Patel University, Sardar Patel Institute of Public Administration, Sardar Smruti, Sardar Smarak are some of the institutes in the State which need to be augmented, enriched and brought up to world class centres of excellence. It is childish to throw old toys in a dustbin and seek new toys for possessive and promotional vanity.
In fact, there has not been any public debate on this momentous project. Politicians of all colours are understandably silent; some intellectuals are apprehensive of antagonizing the regime and others are simply indifferent.
Erecting a statue is not an innovative idea. There are thousands of them everywhere in cities, towns and villages. Anybody who mooted this idea of the tallest Sardar needs to be credited for packaging the gimmick properly. This was perhaps at a time when the Chief Minister, as reported in the media, commented that the bureaucrats were not coming up with any new idea or scheme.
In a country more and more petty politicians with parochial loyalties are thrown up at the top post, imagine —- states and UTs—installing the tallest statues of Gandhiji, Sardar, Buddha, Mahavir, Shivaji, Rana Pratap, Kanshiram, Mayawati etc and vying with each other to escalate the height of statue higher than 182 metres.
It is not so much relevant as whose money you are spending; it is pertinent to ask whether you are doing enough to inspire the generations to come for inculcating grand values and rich legacy of such eminent persons. It is rather difficult, but then that is only thing worth doing. Long term vision needs long term total concerns.