City Landmark – Balkrishna Shivram Moonje, Outside New Delhi Railway Station
The statue outside the station.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
One of the many fates that can befall a human is immortaliation — in the shape and form of a statue.
Chances are nobody will glance twice at it.
Consider, if you will, a particular statue just outside New Delhi railway station that almost everybody is likely to spot on walking out of the station.
The figure is wearing a long overcoat over a dhoti. He has a cap and a long beard and his right arm is holding a cane. Alas, the face doesn’t ring any bells at all. And, this afternoon, the bronze figure is surrounded by busy vendors hawking everything from grapes to goggles. Most of them have no idea who the fellow is, and don’t particularly care.
But a discreetly placed Hindi language plaque on the plinth tells it all.
Born in Central India, Balkrishna Shivram Moonje was a prominent freedom fighter close to Bal Gangadhar Tilak. He strove to organise resistance through physical training and militarisation.
As prominent leader of the Hindu Mahasabha, he toured all over India promoting his thoughts, right up until his death at 1948.
The statue was installed in 1983 near the station at a corner plaza, where a group of youngsters are now performing a nukkar opera against public littering. A crowd quickly gathers, but nobody even glances at Moonje. Perhaps the ultimate fate for most statues.
The fate of famous men