Travel is one of the most enriching things in life and just like other travellers, I always look forward to visiting postcard perfect destinations, learning about different cultures, marvelling at architectural heritage, trying great food, and meeting interesting people. But there’s something else I also look forward to while on the road - spotting a statue of Dr. BR Ambedkar. I have a compilation of the many different Ambedkar statues I have come across on my trips. Here are a few:
My fixation with Ambedkar statues began in 2017. I was cleaning my phone’s gallery and came across pictures of three Ambedkar statues which were taken by me on recent trips to Amritsar, Triyambakeshwar and Abhaneri in Rajasthan. It was then that the idea of turning it into a collection struck me.Since then, I have never left a chance to photograph an Amedkar statue whenever I come across one during my journeys. I experience a childlike excitement the moment my eyes light upon an Ambedkar statue in a new place.
From Nainital to Puducherry and Udaipur to Varanasi, I have photographed a lot of these statues over the last couple of years. And every time I spot one, the fascination grows tenfold.
What’s been interesting is the fact that I have never come across identical statues. Every statue is different from another. The leader, who carved out the Constitution of free India, laying down the framework assuring its citizens of justice, equality, liberty, and fraternity, has been depicted in blue in some of the statues I’ve come across. At some places, he has been sculpted in bronze.
These statues also tell me a great deal about the sculptor and his mastery of his craft. For instance, the statue that I came across in Mumbai’s Churchgate area was almost lifelike. On the other hand, the ones I came across in Bokaro and Hospet was quirky, with uneven proportions.
Similarly, Lucknow junction’s Ambedkar did not wear glasses and Varanasi’s Bhelupur’s Ambedkar was dressed like a test cricketer for some strange reason.
In most of the statues, Ambedkar is standing with his right hand raised and the constitution in his left hand. But then, there were some statues like the one in Bengaluru, where he is not raising his right hand.
The sculptor who was assigned to make the statue in Jharkhand’s Vishnupur decided to dress him in bell bottoms while the one who was assigned to make Agra’s Ambedkar job did a stellar job with his face looking exactly the same as in real life.
Some statues were garlanded while others were not. My personal favourites have been the one in Mumbai’s Churchgate area and the one at Amritsar’s Ambedkar Circle.
Witnessing these statues has been an incredible experience so far and I hope to come across more on my future trips. Perhaps I will publish a photo book on the same after a couple of decades.
I am travelling to Arunachal Pradesh next month. Wish me luck.
And here's wishing all our readers a very Happy Republic Day. Be a constitutionally aware citizen!