The Statue of Unity Complex: Completely Misunderstood by Dhruv Rathee
Aabhas K M
I wonder at times how a media house owned by the chairman of Editor’s Guild publishes such a piece, devoid of facts, full of errors and misunderstandings. I’m talking of the currently very famous article ‘Even if Statue of Unity becomes as famous a Taj Mahal, we may need 120 years to break even’ written by Dhruv Rathee and published by The Print. Yesterday I took on twitter to form a thread to rebut the error full article point by point and on request of many I’m now putting in an article format for people to understand easily the truth of lie coated propagandas they look to sell. Through this essay, I openly challenge Shekhar Gupta and Dhruv Rathee to counter me in their potential if believe what they just said in the article was nothing but the truth. So here follows the rebuttal:
Dhruv Rathee haplessly starts the article by mocking Indians directly. He says, ‘it will add to the symbolical & rhetoric pride that Indians like to reveal in these days.’ I immediately wanted to ask him which nationality does he owns? Isn’t he too Indian even though he doesn’t take pride in speaking about the Statue of Unity? I must say that though he complains Indians for taking rhetorical pride, the opening line of his article itself is a big rhetoric.
Now, since he calls it a rhetorical Indian pride then what is the Statue of Buddha at the Spring Temple, Statue of Liberty, Statue of Motherland Calls, and Christ the Redeemer doing considering that few even stand for religious expression? He must clear his stand on this because this shall let his opening argument stand for a moment. Dhruv and his friends must be thankful that not Bharat Mata like ‘Motherland Calls’ but ‘Statue of Unity’ is being built.
He goes on to ask people if they really know which statue is the second largest in the world (his rhetoric #2). He argues that most of the Indians don’t even know about it as they keep thinking that the Statue of Liberty is the one. This not only spoke about his lack of maturity but also shears arrogance. But, I have a concrete and intellectual question for him which is contextual as well. Is he aware what % of GDP (PP) was used while Statue of Liberty was made? I’m sure he must not have pondered on this line for his writing only seems agenda and not fact driven. I see this as my duty to educate him on the fact that France used 0.73% of GDP (PP) while India is using 0.017% GDP (PP). He mockingly asks people not be embarrassed in case they are unaware of the Second Largest Statue as it doesn’t appear in tourist attractions. I asked him about economic conditions pertaining Statue of Liberty & I too will not ask him to be embarrassed because no YouTubes video is available for that analysis, Mr YouTuber (he is famously known for YouTube blogging).
I’m unsure if he is aware of the fact that the idea he practice is called ‘Postmodernism’ & the post modernists have actually built maximum symbolic structure including amazing ‘Jews Museum’ Berlin. I must say that I really admire this work & love the architecture. Though he very rightly says that the Historical structures attract populace more than modern construction still I’m sure his understanding of Urban Design/ Planning & related economics is flawed as he goes on to compare Burj Khalifa with Eiffel Tower to substantiate his arguments. Let me explain.
The Statue of Unity Complex (not Statue alone) is completely different design brief than Burj Khalifa. While the former is designed to get in tourists, later is a mixed-use complex with tourism just as an ancillary activity. The commerce of Burj Khalifa depends on its hotels, office suites, residences, restaurants, retails & commercial spaces. The ideal way to compare Eiffel with Burj will be in terms of revenue each one draws. It’s like asking FaceTime from a Pixel phone. He took a jibe on Sangeet Som for his saying that the Statue of Unity complex will attract more tourists than Taj Mahal. So now I want to ask him if he is aware of the whole project’s brief? What the proposals are? What are occupancy considerations? In the first phase, a bridge connecting the memorial to the mainland, a memorial, visitor centre buildings, a memorial garden, a hotel, a convention centre, an amusement park, research centres and institutes is being constructed. I wonder if he has any idea about commercials related to such a design brief.One might not visit Taj if bumping in Agra but will for sure get a hotel or lodge, isn’t it? If one wants to compare commercials amid the Taj&the Statue of Unity then the sum of the commerce from all nearby hotels, convention centres, research centre etc. with same built up area as proposed must be considered.
He goes on to say that Sardar Patel Statue is about Political Symbolism & not rich Indian culture. I must say that he got it totally wrong if it’s not a statement of master. Sardar Patel weaved the country together which was to be fragmented into 562 parts. Had Sardar’s intervention not been an impactful one, people might have been making ISD call to reach out many they know. Then we might have been talking about small limited culture of a particular state as our national culture. We might have not been able to brag about diverse pluralistic nature that we celebrate. Few reasons in life are more important than consequence. I am sure that he too knowsit well thatalthough the Indus Valley Civilisation is our origin we can’t visit it easily for its proximity.
He then talks of heritage sites and wrongly talks of 36 while the actual number is 37. I agree that ASI lacks in fund but at the same timethey have been victim of political vendetta for long years. Weren’t ASI people shunned down for work in Dwarka, Hastinapur & Ayodhya. If he so worried for ASI then shouldn’t he acknowledge thatthe Ram Temple should come up as ASI has put in so much funds from limited scope for the excavation at disputed site? Isn’t care about ASI politically motivated? In terms of funds I will certainly recommend him to check out the flow during NDA & UPA gov. Dhruv can definitely file a RTI.
Dhruv recommends upgrading services at existing Monuments that to spend 3000 cr. As mentioned earlier, there are various ancillary spaces including Hotels, Convention Centres, and Amusement Parks etc. Does he oppose such developments in his locality too? He can take a stand as he says provided he becomes a proper Jhola Communist and stops visiting luxury hotels, amusement parks, convention centres. If he is so appalled to development then he must stop using Twitter & shaming people if they haven’t visited World Historical Monuments as you indirectly do in beginning of article. He can’t keep using capitalist products and take a different stand while baking political chapattis. Just for his information, YouTube is one of the worst sources of energy consumption. There is massive server that operates 24x7 for so many videos to upload and download.
Anyways I don’t think this is a right space to discuss about energy and carbon footprints but will definitely look to lock horns with him on this subject. He has spread enough fake news even about environmental concerns. Coming back to the subject of day, I urge him to explain us in what lesser amount can he construct the spaces which are proposed as a part of Statue of Unity complex as he questions the cost? In case he can’t he must stop his irrational analysis about 3000 crores without distributive understanding. He naively compares revenue generation at Taj with proposed Statue of Unity Complex &says that annual revenue of Taj is 25cr & hence it will take 120 years for Statue of Unity to even recover investment with sane rate. Ironically he makes this foolish assertion as the title of the article.
Mr Rathee must know that the Taj receives revenue only from its marvel & aesthetics not from hospitality, retail, museums, institutions & commercial which are part of the Statue of Unity complex. As said earlier in case he wants to compare the Taj then he will need to consider the equal amount of built-up area of hotels & other facilities (as in Statue of Unity) which are used while people visit Taj. Otherwise, it’s illogical & idiotic comparison.
He makes a bogus claim that maintenance cost is over & above 3000 cr. But he must be informed 657cr out of 3000 cr is meant for maintenance. He argues that visitor centres, museums and restaurants can’t help generate that much revenue. But for his information he must know that the complex has overall built up area of around 290000 sqft. Isn’t it bit too large than the image generated by words he puts: restaurants & museums? Any how much revenue such area of commercial space generates? Let me give him another matter of fact. The Jewish Museum of Berlin generates revenue of around 40 cr at an average every year which is way more than the Taj Mahal.
I will be more than happy if Dhruv responds to this rebuttal or even if Shekhar Gupta ji takes up to clarify it. I offer this as an open challenge to both of them to please come ahead and give clarifications. The nation can’t consume any fake ideas and information they wish to inject. This article by Dhruv Rathee and Shekhar Gupta’s call to publish it only rusts the fourth pillar further.