19November2018

Andaman Chronicle

The Daily Diary of the Islands

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Statue of Unity..!

There was a tapping on my window. It was midnight, and cold in the New York apartment where I am living now. “Who’s that?” I asked petrified. You don’t get a tapping when you are so many floors up. I gently pushed the glass pane up, and saw a huge hand, “Liberty!” I exclaimed, “What are you doing outside my window?”

“You’re Indian aren’t you?” asked the gigantic figure of the Statue of Liberty, leaning outside and dwarfing my building.

“Yes!” I said.

“I heard you guys have built a Statue of Unity, bigger than me?”

“Yes!” I said, “We have!Our prime minister’s seen to that. Why, are you feeling jealous? Listen Liberty you can’t remain the tallest and most popular all your life, can you? The world is changing!”

“I don’t feel bad!” said Liberty, “Just came to tell you I’m happy!”

“Happy about a statue that’s taller than you?” I asked puzzled.

“Happy they made a statue, of a man much bigger than most on this earth,” said Liberty. “I wondered when you guys would finally get down to doing it! Our own Martin Luther King, followed him, and look at the equality he brought about! Imagine an African American elected president the last time, all through the teachings of your man!”

“You’ve heard of Sardar Patel?” I asked incredulously.

“Who?” asked the Statue of Liberty, impatiently drumming on my window pane, and making the whole building shake, “Who?”

“The statue we are talking about!”

“Is that Gandhiji’s other name?”

“Gandhiji?” I asked.

“Yes,” said the Statue of Liberty, his fingers drumming even more dangerously, “Aren’t we talking about the statue that’s bigger than me? Aren’t we talking of a colossus named Gandhi?”

I closed my eyes and shivered as I realized why Liberty had come to see me. Why Liberty was so happy for us Indians. “It ain’t Gandhi!” I whispered and I felt New York grow still.

“What?” asked the statue, and the building trembled.

“It’s someone else!” I whispered.

“But it’s called the Statue of Unity!” said Liberty, “Who else but that man could unite the Punjabis, the Madrasis, the..the..”

“The Bengalis, the Kannadigas, the Keralites, and all of India!” I whispered.

“Yes, who else could have brought such unity to different people and make themselves proud to be called Indians, even as they threw out the British?”

The tapping on the window increased, and I heard people whispering in fright, “Who else? Is known the world over, for what he gave the world: Non-Violence!” shouted Liberty, and suddenly the rattling stopped, the building stopped shaking as I saw Liberty walking away, her head bowed, and then she turned to me tears in her eyes and said, “Maybe dear Mohandas is so big in the eyes of the world, he doesn’t need a statue to tell people who he is..!” 

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  • Written by Denis Giles
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