They are the perfect landing pads for birds to take a break from their flying activities or relieve themselves. That is the ultimate fate of most statues once installed with complete honour and pomp.

The installation ceremony, followed by annual rituals of wrapping a statue with garlands, lasts for a few years or decades. But after that, who cares!

Birds do. That is their transitory abode to rest, munch, relieve and go.

Statues are placed in honour or memory of public figures no matter how much their contributions to society are perceived. As time flows, more revelations emerge that are not complementary to them or acceptable to the public.

On Canada Day, July 1, the latest victims were Captain James Cook’s statue dumped into Victoria’s Inner Harbour, and statues of Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth toppled at the Manitoba Legislature in Winnipeg.

However, the most explosive demolition in recent days was Canada’s first prime minister, John A. Macdonald, in Kingston, Ont. on June 18, 2021.

Prime Minister Macdonald authorized new Residential Schools and granted government funds for those already in place. Macdonald was very clear about the need to break the connection between the students and their communities: “When the school is on the reserve, the child lives with his parents who are savages; savages surround him, and though he may learn to read and write, his habits and training and mode of thought are Indian. He is simply a savage who can read and write.”

Even international figures like peace apostle Gandhi meet the same fate.

His alleged racist conducts against the Blacks in South Africa are the latest revelations triggering the razing of his statues on the country’s university campuses.

Statues are installed in most instances because there is some politics behind them. That involves cashing in on the sentiments of the public by politicians.

An example of that is the new mammoth statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in Gujarat. He served as the deputy prime minister of India after the Independence. Modi, the current one, wanted to raise the statue structure to a record-breaking new height in the world by installing the figure to match with the “Iron man’s” image of a strong leader.

Statues are expensive to build with public-funded money and are costly to maintain for their wear and tear and occasional head-to-toe scrubbing. They need regular pressure wash until the time comes due to public pressure for their deportation to the museum of disgraced and dead statues.

And this is where the birds have their rights, too, against the statue removal activists and protestors. Birds, smart as they are, love statues, good or bad, indiscriminately while delivering the proper justice.

-Promod Puri  

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