Stadium corner is one of the most prominent landmarks of Kannur town. A busy zone with plenty of people, shops, buses, autorikshaws and roadside hawkers, this place is truly the heartbeat and heart of Kannur. Built around the Municipal Jawahar Stadium that derives its name from the first Prime Minister of Independent India, the area has been one of the most effervescent centres of activity.
The prime highlight of the stadium corner is the statue of the personage from whom it derived its name – Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. The statue is located at the North West corner of the ramparts of the stadium, at the junction where the roads from Head Post Office, Old Bus Stand, Yogasala Road and Caltex Junction meets.
I see this statue daily, at least twice, once in the morning and once in the evening, the time when I go to office in the morning and then back home. But each time I see this, it is neither an ocular pleasure nor a visual delicacy.
Nehru stands here, tall, high on his podium, under the shade of a giant tree, watching the traffic move on.
I am personally not much in sync with the methods, foreign policies, economic strategies and social engineering that were followed by Panditji, nor am I a great fan of the Indian National Congress in that he led, in its current form. But as an Indian I admire and respect his contributions to the struggle to the freedom struggle, therefore it pains to see Nehru covered in deep shit, literally, day in and day out. The tree is home to myriad birds and it is quite poignant that the statue is victim to their process of waste management. It seems that the only purpose of the placement of the statue was to take on the full weight of the birds crap.
Quite nearby, around 600 meters away, lies the Caltex Junction – another important crossroad at Kannur. The attraction here is the statue of Comrade AK Gopalan. Looking back in history, AKG was the first Leader of Opposition in Parliament, when Nehru was the Prime Minister. So its natural justice that both of them deserve their space in a politically significant playground called Kannur. Even this statue greets me twice daily, but with a difference. It is definitely neater, cleaner, and pleasant, neatly garlanded and maintained regularly – a treat to the eyes.
What’s the difference here?
The parliament constituency, the legislative assembly seat, and the municipality, all three levels of governance where the Congress and Allies rule. A stadium maintained by this municipality. And the plight of the silent, motionless figurine of a leader of the supreme family that runs the party. The state of affairs undeniably would not miss anybody’s attention by any chance, but still I have not been able to apprehend why the people in charge have not noticed this yet. Just think of the situation in Rahul Gandhi or Varun Gandhi lands up in Kannur one fine morning. How would they feel when they see their great-grandfather in these circumstances?
I am politically not an adherent of the communists, but this is where I tend to respect them – the way they protect their legacy. You cannot find one memorial they have created, which is in a state of decay or neglect. The AKG statue at Caltex Junction is a prime example. Built on private property, the efforts they take to neatly present it to the public on days of significance is truly commendable and praiseworthy.
I had all these thoughts going through my mind before I reached office today morning. And I had made up my mind to pen my thoughts on this. Quite unexpectedly, I had a visitor at my office early in the day – Advocate Sunny Joseph, the Congress MLA from Peravoor.
I presented my thoughts quite explicitly to him. He listened patiently and attentively, and after the conversation he was fiddling through the contacts list on his mobile phone. Seriously, I did not expect much response from him except for to candidly match my disquiet. But he surprised me by calling up somebody in the Municipality Administration – I presume it was the chairperson and shared my concerns with him. I could listen to the person at the other end explaining that they were planning to clean up the statue at stadium corner on November 14 – the birth anniversary of Nehru. But MLA insisted that it be cleaned and be ready, at least by October 2, and it given a proper umbrella so to protect it from the perils of Newton’s law of gravity.
I was psychologically satisfied, that I had found a listener in a position of strength, who took my views and made it heard at the right place. And now, I wait till a few more days to see if the voices that were heard have been heard are transformed into action. Till then, I can only reflect on a quote from Nehru “Time is not measured by the passing of years but by what one does, what one feels, and what one achieves.” Yes, I would consider it a special and personal achievement if the statue of Nehru at Stadium corner is restored to its glory.
|Nehru’s statue at Stadium Corner
Photo © Nidheesh Narayanan
AKG’s statue at Caltex Junction
(photo source – Wikipedia)