Pradeep Pattanayak

A statue of former Chief Minister of Odisha and noted freedom fighter, Nabakrushna Choudhury in shirt & trousers, which was installed at Gopabandhu Park in Angul on the occasion of Utkal Dibasa and the district foundation day, has sparked a big controversy.  

The statue portrays Choudhury in a pair of shirt and trousers. But, the freedom fighter, who was immensely inspired by the principles of Gandhi and used to live a simple life, was never seen in a shirt & trousers as he used to wear ‘Dhoti and Kurta’. 

The statue has drawn sharp resentment from different sections of the society. The people of the district have urged the administration to alter it or at least wrap the statue with a piece of Khadi cloth. However, the administration is yet to take any steps to correct the mistake. 

When contacted, Krishna Mohanty, daughter of Nabakrushna Choudhury, expressed her disappointment, saying, “I received an invitation letter for the inauguration ceremony of the statue. I could not attend the ceremony. Those who had visited the spot before the ceremony showed me some photographs of the statue. From the look of the statue, it is hard to recognise him (Nabakrushna Choudhury).  From the reactions that emerged, the administration must have realized the mistake. The statue must be replaced.  But the administration is yet to take any action."

Meanwhile, Akshay Kumar Samant, the Chairperson of Angul Municipality, issued a clarification which read, “With a noble intention, Angul Municipality had decided to install life-size statues of eminent personalities of Angul district in the Gopabandhu park. Photos of personalities were collected. As the photos didn’t show them in full, no concrete ideas could be obtained about their attire. So, some statues in a pair of trousers and shirts were sculpted mistakenly. After coming to know about this, the municipality is taking steps to rectify the mistakes. The municipality apologizes for this mistake and promises not to repeat it again.”

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