Controversy over installation of Thiruvalluvar’s statue in Hardwar…

Thiruvalluvar, a Tamil poet was often referred in budget speeches of former Finance Minister P Chidambaram’s budget speeches.

The poet’s statue is finding it difficult in getting installed in Hardwar. On 18 July, Hindu reported:

Just a few metres from the Ganga at the Mela Bhawan in Haridwar lies a massive package, wrapped in black plastic sheets and tightly bound with ropes. It is the 12-foot-tall stone statue of Tamil poet-saint Thiruvalluvar, left here after Bharatiya Janata Party MP from Uttarakhand Tarun Vijay failed to get a site allotted for it.

Mr. Vijay came up with the statue idea to “mark the arrival of Thiruvalluvar in Haridwar.” The statue was moved from Haridwar’s Dam Kothi area after protests erupted over its planned installation. The initial site chosen was on the Ganga’s banks, near Har Ki Pauri, a prime location that draws large crowds, especially for the Kumbh Mela. But as priests started a protest, a new place had to be found, Haridwar Additional District Magistrate J.S. Nangyal said. Chief Minister Harish Rawat then asked for an alternative site from the Haridwar district administration, which suggested a spot near Shankaracharya Chowk, named after Adi Sankara.

The grand installation, planned for June 29, in the presence of governors, politicians and bureaucrats, was cut short as local holy men protested and said they would not allow a Thiruvalluvar statue near one of Adi Sankara. “What is Thiruvalluvar’s connection with Haridwar? The people here know nothing about him,” Swaroopananda Saraswati, who is the Shankaracharya of the Dwarka-Sharda Peeth and the Jyotish Peeth, said.

Ujjawal Pandit, president of the Akhil Bharatiya Yuva Teerth Purohit Mahasabha, who is also associated with the BJP Yuva Morcha, said, “We had no objection to it being installed in Haridwar, but our objection was to keep it at Har Ki Pauri.” Disappointed with the outcome, Mr. Vijay told The Hindu, “I had started the Thiruvalluvar Ganga Payanam [journey] from Kanyakumari to Haridwar and decided that the statue would be unveiled at Haridwar during the celebrations marking the completion of his journey.”

On 20 July, Tamil Nadu’s CM asked the Indian PM to intervene in the matter!:

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Wednesday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to urgently take up with the Uttarakhand government the issue of installation of a statue of Tamil sage poet Thiruvalluvar in Haridwar.

In a letter to Mr. Modi, the text of which was released to the media here, Ms. Jayalalithaa requested PM Modi to accord this issue the highest priority and prevail upon the Uttarakhand government to resolve the matter at the earliest.

“It is learnt that the Thiruvalluvar statue is now lying in the Dam Kothi Guest House, Haridwar, in an abandoned condition. The visuals beamed on television screens is causing outrage in Tamil Nadu,” Ms. Jayalalithaa said.

On 21 July, it seems a decision has been taken to install the statue on the alternate site of Mela Bhavan.

Trust all this to happen in Indian political circus. But sad and ironic to see all these developments. We should be able to follow literature and poetry across states. We hardly know anything about so many of different regions poets and writers..

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