The sunrise at Mahishmati is no longer accompanied by the sweet chirping of the birds. Over the last few months, the construction work of our ruler Bhallaladeva’s gold statue is in full swing. The noise of the hammering emerge daily at the stroke of dawn and continue till sunset.
Never before have I ever been devoid of the pleasing early morning sounds in my 45 years of life. But I have to get on with my work. The vicinity of the gurukul where I teach is surrounded by dense green trees. This helps in keeping the sound at bay. But the quality of air is surely affected.
Along with the destruction of nature, what puts a huge question mark on the statue is the fact that an unthinkable amount is spent in making and erecting it. It pains to see such crazy spending on a mere statue when hundreds of its citizens are homeless. On top of that, the farmers and peasants too are going through the worse phase of poverty since last few years.
The rulers are, obviously, aware of this. But they, especially the father-son duo of Bijjaladeva and Bhallaladeva, are more concerned in flaunting their power. Proving their supremacy is their biggest priority even as a number of citizens struggle to survive.
Protesting against the statue is out of question. Many tried it and suffered the consequences. Bhallaladeva used his force to crush every protest. He won’t do it directly. People lower in his rank carry out such tasks on his behalf.
Mahishmati has now reached a stage where even constructive criticism of the rulers is considered suicidal. Along with his highly paid workers, a large number of people from the general population have also started advocating for Bhallaladeva with all dedication.
Strong image building exercises coupled with his brilliant oratory skills have captured the minds and hearts of these citizens. For them, Bhallaladeva is the most powerful and the only person worth ruling Mahishmati. Even if you differ with them politely, you get branded the enemy of the land. Their blind worship has broken plenty of friendships over the years.
Their common justification for the statue is that it will provide employment to a lot of people who are engaged in building it. They fail to understand that the enormous amount of money will not only save the lives of hundreds of starving citizens but will also ensure that nobody gets into that condition in the near future.
The other day I got quite a jolt while I was teaching. A scuffle between two groups of kids took place. Further query brought to my notice that few students lost their temper when few other merely questioned the need for a statue. I was more disappointed than surprised. Since recent times I have come to realize that there is no definite link between common sense and education.
I wish building statues, even of great people, doesn’t continue in the future but I see little hope. Who knows? Centuries later some other ruler might play a trick by building a statue of a great ruler of the past just to massage his own ego.