Games politicians play – statue vandalism

Difficult to think of any leader whose statue hasn’t been destroyed. Just a few recent incidents.

  1. Vladimir Lenin in Tripura
  2. Dr. B. R. Ambedkar in Rajasthan’s Achrol
  3. Mahatma Gandhi in Nathdwara, Rajasthan
  4. Jawaharlal Nehru, was defaced with ink in West Bengal
  5. Syama Prasad Mukherjee (Bharatiya Jana Sangh founder) in Kokrajhar’s Assam
  6. E V Ramasamy or Periyar (Social reformer and rationalist leader) in Vellore.

And even a 19th century Bengali poet, Michael Madhusudan Dutt was not spared. His statue was desecrated in the Purba Bardhaman district of West Bengal recently.

Politically motivated stunts. The political parties are destroying what they perceive are icons and symbols of their enemies. Hitting back at a rival party or a rival idealogy.

Vandalism is a crime and under Section 425 in The Indian Penal Code and can attract punishment from 6 months to 5 years. In practice nothing happens. Hardly anyone is ever punished. Naturally, because vandalism is mostly done at the behest of political parties.

Vandalism of icons was the norm in medieval times. We must be the only country where this still happens with such regularity. A tit for tat game between political parties. Following ancient traditions??

The common man couldn’t care less if a statue is destroyed.

But it shows the kind of government we have. The political immaturity. All that is wrong with the political establishment. They don’t govern. They play childish games. Call it showmanship or one-upmanship.

This is what Ajaz Ashraf has to say in The Wire:

The statue vandalism of last week frames a perspective on iconoclasm, as also do the countless desecrations of Ambedkar’s idols over the years – that appropriation and desecration of icons in a democratic India is a throwback to the abduction and demolition of idols in a land which was autocratic centuries ago. This realisation could well have been the impulse behind the prompt and welcome condemnation of statue vandalism by BJP leaders. In doing so, though, the BJP privileged statues over humans, their violent abuse rarely leading to its leaders condemning the assailants.

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