India will unveil next week the tallest statue in the world, the imposing figure of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, a popular political and social leader who participated in the struggle for freedom that led to the independence of India of British colonial rule in 1947.
Located 182 meters above the Narmada River in the state of Gujarat in western India, the statue will be unveiled on October 31, revealing a cast figure of about 1,850 metric tons of bronze.
“In the world, people are talking about the Statue of Liberty of America. We want to make a statue of Sardar Patel twice as big as the Statue of Liberty, “said Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2013. The Statue of Liberty is 93 meters tall, including its pedestal.
This ambitious project was announced by Modi in 2010, while he was still Chief Minister of the State of Gujarat. Built with funds provided by the Gujarat State Government, it has also received support from the federal government and individual contributions.
Estimated at more than $ 410 million, the building committee commissioned donations from the public to complete the statue. Modi has asked farmers across the country to donate iron.
Modi is expected to inaugurate the statue at a grand ceremony with party and government leaders.
For the critics of Modi and his party Bharatiya Janata, the statue is an example of their efforts to appropriate a popular national figure. Patel was a member of the Congress Party, which now sits in opposition to the Indian Parliament.
Best known for his role in the struggle for independence, Patel became the first Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior after independence. He played a central role in the effort to merge the small princely states into a unified independent India – and his success has made him a lasting nationalist symbol.