What do Mukesh Ambani's 27-storey residential wonder — named Antilla, located in south Mumbai — and Mayawati's humongous statues spread across parks and museums in Uttar Pradesh, have in common?
Two things: first, both evoke extreme reactions. Second: they form the subject of a case study devised by a professor at IIM, Lucknow.
Himanshu Rai, human resource management professor at the institute, uses both to exemplify two features: the need to dream big and the power of symbolism.
"Towering Antilla symbolises the power of wealth and Man's primordial need to attract attention," said Rai. "Similarly, for the Dalits, the Maya memorials have come to symbolise emancipation."
Whatever the likes of Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav or BJP youth leader Varun Gandhi may say — both have threatened to bring down the Mayawati-built structures — Rai was clear it can never happen.
He said, "The sheer cost of breaking down either would be huge... Mayawati's memorials, dedicated to Dalit icons have come to symbolise freedom for the downtrodden. Similarly, Antilla symbolises wealth and what one can do with it."