151-ft high Lakshman statue to be built in Lucknow, says mayor; location unclear
A 151-foot-high statue of Lakshman, the younger brother of Lord Ram, would be installed in the state capital Lucknow, the city’s municipal corporation’s executive committee decided at its meeting late on Tuesday.
“The executive committee unanimously passed the proposal for setting up a statue of Lord Lakshman, who established the city of Lucknow,” Lucknow mayor Sanyukta Bhatia said. “The executive committee has earmarked ₹1 crore for the construction of the statue. However, when the need arises, we will not hesitate in giving more money for the project,” she added.
Municipal commissioner Ajay Dwivedi said artists from Rajasthan, Lucknow and other states were being contacted for the work. “Everything will be finalised soon,” he said, adding that the corporation had reached out to a sculptor from Rajasthan for the project.
“We are working on the theme of the statue. The LMC (Lucknow Municipal Corporation) will also construct a gallery which will portray all the facts of Lord Lakshman, his story, his sacrifice, his devotion towards Lord Ram, his ethics, his simplicity etc. Not only that, we will also have a daily light and sound show about his life at the location where the statue would be installed. The aim is to display our culture and heritage,” said Bhatia.
But the corporation hasn’t taken a call on the location of the statue.
When the municipal corporation cleared a similar proposal in 2018, it had voted to install the statue at a crossing out of one of the city’s oldest and most prominent mosques, Teele Wali Masjid. The plan met with stiff opposition from clerics and historians, who linked the move to the 2019 general elections. It didn’t move forward.
Sanyukta Bhatia, who had also piloted the aborted 2018 proposal, said the site would be finalised after fresh discussions with municipal corporators. This time, she said, a “collective decision” would be taken.
The opposition to the 2018 plan came against the backdrop of a claim by veteran BJP leader Lalji Tandon in his book that Teele Wali Masjid, the city’s biggest Sunni mosque built during Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, was constructed over Lakshman Teela, a raised platform named after Lord Ram’s brother.
Tandon, who died last year, said in his 2018 book that Lucknow was originally called “Laxmanavati, then Laxmanpur and after that Lakhnavati, before finally being named Lucknow”.