The Panchmahals district collector has decided to replace a newly built replica of the iconic “Gyarah Murti” installed as a relief on a wall in central part of Godhra town because one of the characters is missing.
The relief sculpture installed at Church Circle on Methodist Church’s wall shows Mahatma Gandhi leading the Dandi march — with nine followers, instead of 10, as is the sequence in the original sculpture on Sardar Patel Marg in New Delhi. In Gyarah Murti, the characters, except Gandhi, depict common Indians belonging to different religions, castes and economic background.
A brainchild of the Godhra Municipality, the statue in the Gujarat town has not been inaugurated yet. The sculpture was made by Kolkata-based artists who worked on it for over a month, and finished it in June-end.
“I have ordered the authority concerned to change or modify it. It will remain covered until then,” Collector P Bharati told The Indian Express. “One important figure was missing from the art work.”
Digesh Parikh, social activist and a BJP member, had written to the collector, saying, “The sculpture sends out a wrong message. In the original sculpture, the artist (Devi Prasad Roy Chowdhury) has depicted people from all castes and religions, while in Godhra replica one key character is missing.”
He stated that the historic sculpture gave a message of harmony and equality, but officials of Godhra Nagarpalika ignored this “core value in the artwork”, which showed disrespect. Parikh demanded action against the official concerned.
Godhra Nagarpalika chief officer Nitin Bodat said: “We went ahead with this artwork based on a photograph shown by the artist. There may be many moments during the Dandi March, and we selected one which had only 10 figures. This is not a copy of the Gyarah Murti statue.”