At 10,000 signatures and counting, music director Vishal Dadlani's campaign against the Rs 350 crore Shivaji statue gets bigger with every passing minute. Need 15,000 more signatures to go to court
The campaign against the Shivaji statue at sea is turning bigger by the day. Initiated by music composer Vishal Dadlani, the drive had gained the support of over 10,191 online signatures for a PIL to be filed against the project at last count today.
The campaign, which is being fought through the website http://smallchange.in/ at the moment, will go to court as soon as it gets 15,000 more signatures.
Dadlani told MiD DAY, "We hope to gain 15,000 additional signatures before we file the PIL in court.
The figure that we have arrived at after consultation with our lawyer, Kiran Desai, is 25,000 signatures. That will make the petition carry more weight."
The model of the memorial for Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in the middle of the sea
He added, "I have lived in Maharashtra for all 36 years of my life and I have no objection to a statue of Shivaji Maharaj.
But if they want to make a memorial, they should do something that will be remembered and make the people proud.
There is drought in 27 districts and you are spending a colossal amount on the statue. If they want let them name all the worthwhile projects after Shivaji Maharaj.
"I am getting no benefit from this campaign. My only point is that this money Rs 350 crore can be spent on educating over two lakh children.
We are a developing country and we need to spend the money on development.
How can they cite Statue of Liberty as an example, when it was a gift to the Americans?" For the uninitiated, France gifted the iconic American statue to the US in recognition of the friendship established during the American Revolution.
Dadlani now plans to put his postal address on the website and get signatures in support of the PIL on paper too.
Reiterating that they were doing this in honour of Shivaji Maharaj, he said, "Shivaji would have wanted the people to benefit, especially when they are suffering in the state."
The real history
Historian Ninad Bedekar agrees with Dadlani. He said, "If they really wanted to pay a tribute and build a grand memorial for Shivaji Maharaj, they should have renovated and restored the Raigad fort, from where he founded the Maratha empire, to the way it was in the 17-century.
Then they should have restored the Sindhudurg fort, where the Shivrajeshwar Temple is located and developed a marine park there.
The temple is a significant one as it has the impressions of Chhatrapati Shivaji's hands and feet inside." Despite repeated calls and messages, the CM and the deputy CM remained unavailable for comment.
In The News
First reservation for Marathas, then Shivaji statue: On September 2, the Maratha Seva Sangh, an organisation fighting for reservation for Marathas, told MiD DAY that's what Shivaji, the Maratha warrior, would have wanted.
Shivaji already at sea: On September 5, we reported that a Shivaji memorial built by his son Rajaram in the island fort of Sindhudurg was in ruins.
Statues at liberty: After the hue and cry about the Shivaji statue, Dalit leader Ramdas Athavale told the paper (September 17 issue) that he wanted to build statues of Dr B R Ambedkar, Sahu Maharaj and Mahatma Phule in the sea.
Dadlani's quest was inspired by a Facebook message posted by theatre guru Rahul Da Cunha that questioned why people were not furious about spending money for erecting the statue.
However, Da Cunha said, "Though he may have started the campaign after my message on the Facebook, I am not part of the campaign."
The voice of the people has been growing stronger through the messages posted along with signatures on the website and Twitter