Last year in Guwahati, Assam, the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) government decided to demolish the Mahatma Gandhi’s statue in the Gandhi Mandap garden. The statue was created by renowned sculptor Ramkinkar Baij.
In March this year, almost immediately after the BJP won the State Assembly elections in Tripura after 25 years of CPI(M) rule, BJP supporters celebrated the victory by toppling a statue of Lenin in Belonia, Tripura. The vandalism was justified on the grounds that Lenin was a “foreign” leader anyway, and therefore irrelevant.
Since then, it has become clear that this was just the beginning. More cases of statue vandalisms have been reported from various parts of the country. Soon after the vandalism in Belonia, BJP workers also, reportedly, vandalised Periyar’s statue in Vellore. Multiple reports of more statues being disfigured followed. Among these were Dr. Ambedkar’s statues in [give places and links], Maulana Abul Kalam Azad’s statue in Uttar Pradesh, and Savitri Bhai Phule’s in Telangana.
In response, contemporary Tamil poet and writer Perumal Murugan penned down a poem to protest against such vandalisms. T M Krishna, A Carnatic music singer, social activist, and a recipient of the Magsaysay Award, composed the poem. Listen to the song, “Work of Art,” here:
"Works of Art" is a song that raises its voice against the recent vandalism of statues across India. These statues represent the collective consciousness of our society. They are also the works of art that need to be treasured.
Tuned in Kalyani Raga and set to Adi Tala, TM Krishna gives musical life to the poetic words of Perumal Murugan.