GUWAHATI, Oct 3 - A major controversy has erupted over the Kamrup (Metro) district administration�s painting Mahatma Gandhi�s statue at the Gandhi Mandap atop the Sarania Hill here with a silver colour. The famous bronze statue of the Mahatma, sculpted by father of modern sculpture of the country Ramkinkar Baij in the early 1970s, had the intrinsic concept of the Mahatma�s march upholding non-violence.
Noted sculptor Janak Jhankar Narzary, who was a witness to the sculpting process of this statue while studying sculpture at the Visva Bharati Kala Bhavan, told this correspondent that it was the bronze replica of the original statue of the Mahatma sculpted by Baij in cement at the Visva Bharati.
It had a light green colour applied to its deep brown colour, with the application of acidic chemical through the patina process, to give it a transparent metallic effect enriching its bronze colour. This gave the statue the required vibrancy with an organic look, said Narzary.
The statue was sculpted by Baij on being commissioned by the Government of Assam in the early part of the 1970s, he said.
Narzary demanded that the colour applied to the statue now be removed and its original colour restored with a new patina process.
Noted painter Nani Barpujari said that an attempt to change the colour of the statue had been observed since last year. There was also a move to replace the statue with a new one. But that move was successfully thwarted by the artists and journalists of the State. However, the attempt at changing its colour is still there and this should also be resisted. The people of the State in general and the artist community of the State in particular, should strongly raise their voice against this �mischievous� move of the Kamrup (Metro) district administration, he said.
He demanded that the original colour of the statue be restored, adding that there should not be any attempt at tampering with the statue, which has become a part of the State�s cultural heritage by now. Any attempt at tampering with the statue, with which the name of an artist like Ramkinkar Baij is associated and which has added to the glory of the State�s people, should be regarded as an onslaught on their pride, he said.