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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 16 November 2018

Statues won’t address the concerns of ordinary Indians

Our readers have their say on Merkel, the US migrant caravan and India

The "Statue Of Unity", the world's tallest statue dedicated to Indian independence leader Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. Sam Panthaky / AFP
The "Statue Of Unity", the world's tallest statue dedicated to Indian independence leader Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. Sam Panthaky / AFP

I refer to your report India PM warned to stay away from opening of world’s biggest statue (October 30): the two sculptures and statues under production in India – the Shivaji memorial in the sea near Mumbai and the so-called Statue of Unity in Gujarat – have drawn a large share of India’s wealth, when millions still find it difficult to survive. The local community in Gujarat where the Statue of Unity is being constructed can’t be blamed for their concerns, as farmers across India are struggling to survive. The recent protest rallies by farmers sought government intervention to compensate for fluctuations in the price of produce, which returns less income. Many feel the hard work they put in is in vain.

Government initiatives that marshall vast amounts of taxpayer money must bring a value return. This cannot be achieved through sculptures and memorials, especially when the poor continue their struggle for mere survival. Under whatever circumstances, the concerns of majority community and their plight cannot go unnoticed.

Along with addressing the environmental issues arising from such landmark icons, the government should also realise the need for contented civil society to make India thrive.

Ramachandran Nair, Muscat

Goodbye Angela Merkel, who led Europe with great wisdom

In reference to your excellent editorial As Merkel surrenders, the populists march on (October 30), it is a sad commentary on our times that a leader like Angela Merkel, who has led Europe with great wisdom and sagacity, is fading in power. We live in strange times, where populist leaders rule the roost, playing on jingoistic appeals. Instead of enlarging the global economic pie, they proclaim, let us conserve what we have for our own people and let the rest of the world fend for itself. Yet the world has always survived when nations, like individuals, help each other in times of war and distress. US President Donald Tump’s election, Brexit and the rise of right-wing forces in Brazil are all symptomatic of this short-term myopia amongst global leaders.

Rajendra Aneja, Dubai

Let’s remember the huge contributions of migrants

I write in reference to your coverage of the US migrant caravan. “Make America great again” by discriminating against immigrants? A country made up of immigrants, made great by immigrants, is now booting them out. Highly-qualified professionals should now stay back in their own countries and develop there instead of giving their talents to the US.

Name withheld by request