View of the Statue of Unity at Kevadiya colony in Gujarat state, India. The 182-meters monument pays tribute to India's prominent independence leader Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. Image Credit: AP

Highlights

  • The recent Indian Statue of Unity has upset many people and is creating controversy for the BJP government. A reader discusses the pros and cons of Sardar Patel's memorial.
  • Photography has made life permanent and a reader finds peace observing life behind a camera.
  • The Indian festival of Diwali is celebrated with a lot of pomp and show in India. A reader tries to instil the same excitement in the lives of her children, here in Dubai.

A statue of unity and pride

By Aftab Ahmad

It is a matter of pride for India that such a gigantic statue of Indian politician Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel has been built in the country, that too, in just 33 months. It cost 2,989-crore (about Dh1.47 billion, or $402 million). The 182 meter sculpture and structure made out of 100,000 tons of steel, concrete and bronze is indicative of what can India do. All other tall statues in the world have been dwarfed by this one.

The statue has been named as the ‘Statue of Unity’ and is taller than the famous Statue of Liberty, in the US. It is a tribute to Patel who amalgamated around 560 states of Rajas and Maharajas into one single nation, India, in the year 1947.

- Aftab Ahmad

The statue has been named as the ‘Statue of Unity’ and is taller than the famous Statue of Liberty, in the US. It is a tribute to Patel who amalgamated around 560 states of Rajas and Maharajas into one single nation, India, in the year 1947. It may be surprising to the younger generation that as a member of the Congress party, he contributed resolutely and effectively with Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru in the liberation of India from the clutches of Britain.

India inaugurates world's tallest statue to celebrate independence hero Image Credit: Reuters

Therefore, he is called the ‘Iron Man’ of India. Some critics and opposition leaders have questioned the huge expenditure incurred by the central government when there are other aspects of the country need improvement.

The objective of building this statue is to show the US and the rest of the word what India can do. With such resolution and speed of development, there is nothing impossible for India. We should congratulate the chief architect, engineers and more for this achievement. The workers should also be commended for their tireless work round-the-clock effort to complete this gigantic task with perfection.

- The writer is a resident of Dubai.

Photographs make life permanent Image Credit: Stock images

Photography apturing life for eternity

By Avanthika Balaji

As I walk, the field of vision before me alters from moment to moment. My eyes vigilantly scrutinise my surroundings. When I feel like I have received some sort of sign from nature, my fingers automatically go for the shot.

Photography is both striking and yet subtle in the way in which it deals with its subjects. It takes an instant out of time, alters life by holding it still and permanent. What I love most about photography is that you manage to capture a moment with a camera, without having anticipated it. You have to be ready to welcome the unexpected. A perfect snapshot freezes the moment before it has slipped away. It has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you perceive what your eyes notice through the lens

There are many reasons why I’m passionate about photography...I was in search of a tool that would help me engaging with the world every day. Photographs are the universal language of our era.

- Avanthika Balaji

There are many reasons why I’m passionate about photography. I was in search of a tool that would help me engaging with the world every day. Photographs are the universal language of our era. To take a good shot, all that you require is the perfect light, background and a little creativity.

Photographs try to tell a story. It could be about happiness, misery, joy, triumphs and any kind of emotion. A photograph, to me, is an open door into the past and another that allows a closer look into the present. It is indeed an art of observation. I do not know any subject that is more complex or richer than architectural photography that is all about capturing concrete structures rising vertically from the ground, and posing a frontal outlook in the line of vision.

Our everyday life is beautiful and we need to remember that. Photography captures all that beauty through pictures.

- The reader is a student of a Dubai school.

People decorate their houses on the occasion of Diwali in the UAE Image Credit: Gulf News

Diwali: The Indian festival of lights

By Sandhya Shetty

While growing up in Mumbai, there was a time when our house would be flooded with Diwali greeting cards. There was no excuse for anyone not to give the traditional Diwali bonus to the postman, house help and drivers. The preparations start a month in advance and everyone is excited for the festival. Diwali is also known as the festival of lights and marks the celebration of a deity’s return to Ayodhya, after 14 years of exile.

I do miss the fun and frolic of the festival season that I grew up with, towards onset of Diwali. In the UAE, we celebrate the occasion in our little way, because I don’t want my children to miss out on all the fun I had while growing up in Bombay.

I make it a habit to do everything that I have seen my mother do. Like most households, I do a little spring cleaning. She has told me stories of my grandfather who would fill every hole of the mud house, so insects didn’t get in. I also decided to donate some of my very good clothes and shoes to charity so that someone who needs these items can use them, and send good wishes my way.

Being a full time working mother, I get tired and my back hurts after making the different traditional sweets for the occasion, but it adds to the festivities and makes it worth it. I do the customary prayers and decorate our entrance to the flat with colorful rangoli (sand art). I also light oil dias (lights) so that there is positivity around. I make it a point to make the sweets with ingredients I get from India.

The day begins with my children wearing Indian clothes and the exchanging of sweets with friends and family. Every new dish that is made, I make it a point to offer the first one to the good lord, who has blessed us with a good life. Interestingly I learnd from some people I my village that a small part of the food we make is to be left for the ‘spirits in the woods’.

While Diwali is a celebration of good over evil, we try and incorporate this value among my children. We also believe in having a noise-free Diwali, since fire crackers pollute the environment and the noise effects the stray and the old persons. I hope the spirit of Diwali is forever and helps spread love and not war.

- The reader is a resident of Dubai