Barely weeks after Indian Prime Minister Modi unveiled the world’s tallest statue in Gujarat, the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh confirmed that an even larger statue will be erected in the former Faizabad district.
The Statue of Unity in Gujarat is an image of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, also known as the Iron Man of India. It stands at a height of 597 feet, twice as tall as the Statue of Liberty.
The proposed statue of the Indian god, Ram, will be built to a height of 660 feet to honor what Hinduism believes is the seventh avatar of Vishnu. At least one sector of Hinduism considers Ram to be the Supreme Being and is said to have personified the characteristics and desirable virtues to which a person could aspire. It is for this reason that officials believe that his image must be grander than that of Patel. Our sources indicate that statues of Hindu deities are rarely taller than 165 feet.
Reuters and other major media outlets see the erection of these structures as part of the continuing agenda of the BJP administration’s efforts to unify the country around its Hindu religious culture.
Both the Patel and Ram statues will be promoted as tourist attractions. The Ram statue is expected to be accompanied by a temple and an airport named after the Hindu deity. A medical college to be named after Ram’s father, King Dasharatha is also in the works.
Officials are already considering final design bids from five firms and have narrowed the possible site locations along the Saryu River which will be beautified with a scenic makeover so that “Ayodhya will be presented as a great city to the world.”
The move toward a singular, Hindu nationalism continues to be evidenced by the renaming of previously Islamic-named districts such as the aforementioned Faizabad which is now Ayodhya (already the name of a town within the district). Just a few months ago, the chief minister renamed Allahabad (an Islamic name) to Prayagraj.
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- The Times of India, Ram statue in Ayodhya to be bigger than Statue of Unity?
- India Aware, Yogi Adityanath confirms building of Lord Ram statue in Ayodhya
- Financial Express, Yogi Adityanath visits Ram Janmabhoomi on Diwali, inspects site for planned Lord Ram statue
- The Wire, Adityanath Confirms ‘Grand Statue’ of Ram Will Be Built in Ayodhya
- By Ashish3724 [CC BY-SA 3.0], from Wikimedia Commons