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Unveiling of 28-feet tall Netaji statue reveals India’s drive to shed colonial-era symbols 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be unveiling the 28-feet tall statue of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose today (Pic. Courtesy Twitter/@adiljal)

With the unveiling of the 28-feet tall statue of legendary freedom fighter Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose under a canopy in India Gate by Prime Minister, Narendra Modi today, one of the last vestiges of the colonial rule of the past will be shed.

The statue will be placed at the same spot where a hologram statue of Netaji was unveiled earlier on January 23 this year by the PM, marking the 125th birth anniversary of Netaji.

Interestingly earlier the statue of King George V was there which was removed in 1968 with the intention of replacing it with a national hero. Since then the canopy has remained empty till now when Netaji’s statue will be placed there.

The move follows the assertion by the PM Modi during his Independence Day address that India can become a fully developed country only if the Indian mind is fully decolonised.

The Netaji statue has been carved from a monolithic block of granite weighing 280 metric tonnes and following 26,000-man hours of arduous and intense artistic creativity, it was chiselled to create the statue weighing 65 MT.

What makes this statue special is that it has been completely hand sculpted using traditional techniques and modern tools by a team of sculptors led by Arun Yogiraj.

Arun Yogiraj
A team of sculptors led by Arun Yogiraj worked for 26,000 man hours to sculpt the statue of Netaji (Pic. Courtesy ANI)

Incidentally, a 100 feet long truck with 140 wheels was specially designed to transport this monolithic granite stone from Khammam in Telangana to New Delhi, covering 1,665 kilometres.

Other highlights of the function:

  • PM’s arrival for the unveiling of Netaji’s statue will be heralded with traditional Manipuri Shankh Vadayam and Kerala’s traditional Panch Vadayam and Chanda.
  • The unveiling will be accompanied to the tune of “Kadam Kadam Badhaye jaa”, the regimental quick march of Netaji’s Indian National Army, written by Vanshidhar Shukla and composed by Ram Singh Thakuri.
  • 500 dancers from across the country will present a cultural festival signifying the spirit of Ek Bharat – Shrestra Bharat and unity in diversity.
  • A glimpse of the festival will be shown to the PM on the step amphitheatre near India Gate with 30 artists performing tribal folk art forms such as Sambalpuri, Panthi, Kalbelia, Kargam and dummy horse with live music by Nashik Dhol Pathik Tasha and Drums.
  • The mangal gaan penned by Padma Bhushan Pandit Shrikrishna Ratanjankarji on the occasion of the 1st Independence Day of India in 1947 will be presented by Pandit Suhas Vashi along with a team of singers and musicians. Ashish Keskar is the music director for the presentation.

For the next three days the cultural festival will continue till September 11 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. while a special 10-minute drone show on Netaji’s life would be projected at India Gate at 8 p.m. on all the days.