x

Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 16 November 2018

We should honour our leaders with deeds, not just statues

Our readers have their say on the world's largest statue, sexual violence and ancient artefacts

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

I write in reference to your article World’s tallest statue in tribute to Sardar Vallabbhai Patel unveiled in India (October 31). It is indeed true that Sardar Patel was a great leader who united various large and small princeling states to create a unified India. So, building the highest statue in the world in his honour is a fitting tribute. However, building statues is not enough; we must respect our erstwhile leaders in deed. The real tribute to Sardar Patel, would be to maintain a unified India, where all religions and communities live and thrive peacefully. Statues alone do not ensure respect and adherence to these principles. We have hundreds of statues of Mahatma Gandhi, even in many villages, but we don’t follow many of his lessons.

Jawaharlal Nehru was another visionary who focussed on the future of India. The pair – Nehru the far-seeing leader and Patel the down-to-earth leader – both defined a path for the country’s future. Both of them were dedicated and able leaders and were two sides of the same coin. They complemented and supported each other very well.

However, Mahatma Gandhi was the greatest unifier of India. His heart broke at the partition of the country. He wanted Hindus and Muslims to coexist in harmony. In fact Gandhi was assassinated by extremists who were unhappy with his policy of appeasing the Muslims. Gandhiji gave his life for his dream of a united India. So he will always be the greatest unifier of India.

Rajendra Aneja, Dubai

On the one hand, I applaud the gesture of India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, for erecting the tallest statue in the world for the freedom fighter, Saradar Patel who brought unity to the country. On the other hand, political critics are, perhaps rightly, pouring scorn on Mr Modi, given the backdrop of recent developments in India. The cost factor is of great importance and thus far lacks clarity. The statue has created job opportunities for people during the almost two and half years of construction. But if the cost rises to Dh1.5 billion, which was mooted, that is unacceptable. However, money aside, Sardar Patel deserves to stand tall in his home town for his extraordinary achievements.

K Ragavan, Bengaluru

Sexual violence has become a terrible epidemic today

Please refer to your article Sexual violence against women endemic in North Korea, says Human Rights Watch (November 2). This is present almost all over the world in one way or another. No society can say it is free of crime or exploitation regarding women. Sexual violence against women is a terrible epidemic. It is a social evil granted cover by societies themselves.

Name withheld by request

We must treat rare sculptures like art, not money-makers

I refer to your news Iraq demands return of Assyrian sculpture hours before historic sale (October 31): these rare pieces of art must be treasured, and not treated like market commodities.

Name withheld by request