Posts Tagged ‘#abidewithme’

Abide with me

Posted by Dev Baul - 29/01/22 at 11:01 pm

Abide With Me

I have walked a bit in Shanti Niketan—in and around the various departments of Viswa-Bharati University.

 

The Kala Bhavan premises are strewn with works of art from the master artists/sculptors and students—Ramkinkar Baij’s eight sculptures stand out amongst them.

 

Owing to the unavailability of suitable material and financial constraints, Ramkinkar made do with materials like concrete and laterite mortar to create the masterpieces. This has given an earthy feel and helped to weather the elements for eighty-plus years. Also, granite or bronze would be a rather unbefitting material for Ramkinkar’s spartan subjects—Gandhi, Buddha, Santhal Family, and Sujata.

 

The Gandhi statue was under repair at the time of my visit. The scaffolding around the statue made it surrealistic—as if the Mahatma would come to life and break open the fetters and walk away from the pedestal.

 

Curiously, the ruling entity of the day always found it convenient to keep Gandhi under fetters or on a pedestal. Whenever the British needed to move Gandhi away from the action, they would arrest him and release him unconditionally after things cooled off—in 1942, this cooling-off period stretched to two years. After 1950, the newly elected government found it handy to use him on currency notes, put him on a Father-of-the-Nation pedestal, unfollow him, and run the country as per its own counsel.

 

The present government has dropped all the inconvenient Gandhi shibboleths and has officially decided not to abide with him.

 

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