Chouhan’s ‘Statue of Wisdom’
Giant Adi Shankara statue to come up by the Narmada
The times are such that states are competing to build grander, larger-than-life statues to celebrate icons from history. So it's no surprise that the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government in Madhya Pradesh has unveiled plans to instal a 108 foot tall sculpture of Adi Shankaracharya on the banks of the Narmada at Omkareshwar.
The state proposes to register the Adi Shankaracharya Sanskritik Ekta Nyas, a public trust that Chouhan will chair, to execute the project. And like in the Stature of Unity - the Sardar Patel project in neighboring Gujarat - the trust will run a 15-day (June 15-30) campaign to collect recyclable metal for the project from across the state. This, the CM hopes, will invoke a sense of pride and ownership amid people vis-a-vis the Project. Having Pledged To Contribute The Remainder Of The Cost From The State's Coffers, Chouhan Hopes To Install The Tallest Adi Shankaracharya Statue In The World In MP.
Working with a three-tier system, the project will requisition the help of sadhus and temple workers to collect metal from people's homes. The Jan Abhiyan Parishad, an umbrella organised the Narmada Seva Yatra, will be the coordinating agency for the project.
It’s notable that rather than opting for political icons like Sardar Patel in Gujarat or Maharashtra's Shivaji memorial in the Arabian Sea, CM Chouhan decided to go with an early 8th century religious philosopher. Adi Shankara is credited with consolidating the doctrine of Advaita vedanta.
Analysts believe Chouhan is looking to score brownie points with the RSS, which proves of the celebration of Hindu icons. But Manoj Shrivastava, principal secretary, culture, insists "the MP government isn't feet was chosen as the height of the sculpture, he says, only because it’s an “auspicious” number.
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