Last Sunday, June 7, it was a cheering feeling for me when the statue of Edward Colston in Bristol got pulled down as a result of the killing of George Floyd by the police in the US.
The act was a symbolic disgrace to the man who made fortunes by selling and exporting African slaves to America. The slave trader might have contributed his ill-earned wealth to educational institutions, but his profession was inhumane and certainly not worth to be honored with a statue.
I am against erecting statues in honor of or memory of public figures no matter how much their contributions to society are perceived. As time flows, more revelations emerge about them that are not either complementary to them or acceptable to the public as well. It is happening to the statues of Gandhi in South Africa.
Moreover, there is always the politics of statues. That involves cashing in on the sentiments of the public by the leaders. The new mammoth statue of Sardar Patel in Gujarat state in India is an example.
Statues are expensive to build with public-funded money and are costly to maintain them daily. Otherwise, they are the perfect landing spots for birds to relieve themselves. Birds, indeed, love them, but does the public care about them in the long run.
-by Promod Puri