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Tuesday, January 5, 2016

painted gold statue of Mao Zedong sits at Henan ~ statues of Marina beach !!

Henan is a province of the People's Republic of China, located in the central part of the country.  Henan is often referred to as Zhongzhou which literally means "central plain land" or "midland", although the name is also applied to the entirety of China proper. Henan is the birthplace of Chinese civilization with over 3,000 years of recorded history, and remained China's cultural, economical, and political centre until approximately 1,000 years ago.

Mao Zedong (1893 – 1976),  a  revolutionary was the founding father of the People's Republic of China, which he governed as Chairman of the Communist Party of China from its establishment in 1949 until his death in 1976.  Born the son of a wealthy farmer in Shaoshan, Hunan, Mao adopted a Chinese nationalist and anti-imperialist outlook in early life, particularly influenced by the events of the Xinhai Revolution of 1911 and May Fourth Movement of 1919.  In 1949, Mao proclaimed the foundation of the People's Republic of China (PRC), a one-party state controlled by the CPC. In the following years Mao solidified his control through land reform campaigns against landlords, and perceived enemies of the state he termed as "counter-revolutionaries".  

While his supporters hail him as a theorist, military strategist, poet and visionary; opponents consider him a dictator comparable to Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin who severely damaged traditional Chinese culture, as well as a perpetrator of systematic human rights abuses who was responsible for an estimated 40 to 70 million deaths through starvation, forced labour and executions, ranking his tenure as the top incidence of democide in human history.

Back home on the vast expanse of Marina Beach dotting the Bay of Bengal, there are heritage buildings, Educational Institutions and many statues of Tamil poets, freedom fighters  and politicians ~ though this is not exactly the binder, one can say it is from ‘Labour Statue’ opposite Ezhilagam to ‘Gandhi Statue’ opposite to IG Office. Incidentally,  both were sculpted by Devi Prasad Roy Chowdhury. 

I have posted on this earlier too……. the culture of statues has a long history and is not new to Tamilnadu alone – and there have been some clashes arising out of issues involving statues, it is another colonial vestige.  At important road junctions, at landmark buildings – we have statues of leaders and others lying uncared for in a state of neglect.  In the northern State, one CM went berserk installing statues of party symbol and self and the opposition leader appealed to the Centre not to release funds to State fearing that they would create more statues.

Originally, statues were installed to propagate the memory of great leaders, poets and visionaries of the Society and even in a place where rationalists question religion, there arose very many statues to leaders of importance. It was to instill in upcoming generations some knowledge and recalling of the glorious acts of the erstwhile leaders. It is unfortunate that instead of learning, sometimes they become the reason for public disturbance.  Statues – installing them is another vestige of colonial rule. Now read this :

With a head as large as a two-storey house, this gigantic golden Chairman Mao Zedong sculpture sits proudly in Tongxu county, central China's Henan Province. The 121-foot-tall statue - which was funded by a group of entrepreneurs and local villagers – cost 3 million Yuan (£310,000) [3.02 crores Indian Rupees approx]  to build, reports the People’s Daily Online.  The giant sculpture of Communist China's first chairman, sits in the empty fields of the village of Zhushigang in Henan.

The cost of the painted gold statue is  donated by several entrepreneurs and some of the villagers.  The enormous figure has reportedly taken nine months to build, and is almost completed.  Villagers in the area have praised the statue and taken great pride in erecting it, but some people from the online community are confused by it, others think this statue is not the way to show respect.

Some comment that it does not exactly look like Mao while some say that farmers are so rich.  Another one asked is Mao’s theory or image – which is important ?  Despite being blamed by the western media for killing millions of people in the late 1950's after his economic policies led to a widespread famine, and the cultural revolution in the 1970's, Communist China’s founding father Chairman Mao is still widely respected in China, almost 40 years after his death in 1976.  An aerial view of the statue shows just how large it is, just as people of Tamil Nadu remembered MGR, many at China still proudly remember Mao ~ and the comparison perhaps stops there !

Regards – S. Sampathkumar

5th Jan 2016.

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