Sunday, July 04, 2010

All this for a cause so noble

All this for a cause so noble

Nirad Mudur

The Indira Gandhi Musical Fountain Park is a small park compared to Cubbon Park or Lalbagh. But it will be described in golden letters in a chapter of Bangalore's history as a symbol of people's victory.
Chief minister BS Yeddyurappa's July 1 decision to stop work on the planned National Military Memorial there with immediate effect and shift it to another yet-to-be-decided location is a victory not just for the residents of Krishna Apartments Owners' Association — who filed a public interest litigation — but for all citizens who understand why a park should not be violated. Not even for commemorating our war heroes. That's how precious our parks should be.
It is clear that the war was not against a military memorial coming up in the city; it was against the memorial coming up within a park premises by violating the Karnataka Parks Preservation Act. Forget the legal aspects of what the planned memorial violated; the fact remains that for a city that has been suffering rapid depletion of lung space, a war memorial could be considered at any location without sacrificing the precious green space of Bangalore. That is not done.
The victory lies in that, political implications of the chief minister announcing his decision in the legislative council during Question Hour notwithstanding. The petitioners, too, have been on record, stating that they hope the memorial does come up at a "larger, better place" than the Indira Gandhi Musical Fountain Park.
Unfortunately, many among those who want the memorial to come up at the Indira Gandhi Musical Fountain Park are understandably so disappointed by the chief minister's decision that they seem to miss this point. There is disappointment, as the memorial would have stood to remind the people of those fine men who laid down their lives for our country. They now assume that this may not happen at all, or it would take a long time to happen.
Many among them are families of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, like Colonel V Vasanth and Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan — both Bangaloreans. The onus of deciding where the memorial would come up now lies with chief minister Yeddyurappa. That will have to be done fast to assuage the feelings of the families of martyrs as well as those whose brainchild it was to have a war memorial for Bangalore — an idea which, I am sure, no one in the city opposes.
The city could also have a memorial for civilians who have laid down their lives for the betterment of society, like 27-year-old IOC marketing manager Manjunath Shanmugam (from Karnataka), who fought against the menace of fuel adulteration, and sacrificed his life on November 19, 2005 in Uttar Pradesh.
It is hoped that, this time, the state government plans it right so that no litigation comes as a hindrance to a cause so noble.

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