The art of overt aggrandisement

A story of false concerns and true fears, as far as the statues of Mayawati are concerned.

Mayawati, the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh and India's most popular living Dalit leader, is currently having immense statues built of Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, Kanshi Ram and herself, in the process generating much resentment among the English-speaking public and her political adversaries. Figures ranging upwards to INR 20 billion have reportedly been allocated for these constructions, resulting in outrage among certain sections. That outrage has been expressed primarily along three lines: first, that public funds could be better utilised for development work; second, that there is an uncomfortable impropriety surrounding erecting statues to oneself during one's lifetime; and third, that doing so does nothing for the Dalits, whose cause Mayawati professes to espouse. Each of these considerations, however, leaves something larger unsaid.

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Himal Southasian