All the controversy post Bal Thackeray’s death was predictable to some extent. He was after all, one of the country’s most controversial political figures. Now, a huge storm has arisen about the kind of memorial that should be for Thackeray. While different politicians and supporters are voicing their views about the choice of memorial, even the venue where the statue would be placed has evoked intense debate.
This kind of scenario always arises every time a political figure passes away. While there is no disrespect meant to any politician or historical figure, one cannot fathom why authorities spend valuable time arguing about where and what kind of memorial should be erected.
Even when it comes to naming roads and public facilities there is always a hue and cry from different political parties about who should be ‘honoured’ by having a road or a civic facility named after them. Some time ago, the Sea Link was in the eye of a storm with some proposing to name it Rajiv Gandhi Sea Link and others opposing it. For all practical purposes, to a Mumbaikar, it is simply the Bandra-Worli Sea Link.
One thinks precious time could be put to much better use by more efficient governance and making life easier for the common man rather than bickering over such issues. In several countries abroad, especially in the West — offering great infrastructure to its people — one hardly sees a figurehead’s name hovering over a park or a road. It is high time we stop this back- and-forth about such matters and simply think about more urgent, pressing problems — sanitation, open spaces, public transport and infrastructure, all affecting the common man much more than names of roads and statues.
What better memorial than earning the smiles of the people, by improving amenities?
Supporters of parties need to get their priorities right and expend energy in the right direction.