India's Statue of Unity has divided opinion

Chinese labourers (above) are said to be among those working on the Statue of Unity - a monument depicting Indian leader Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. Though Patel himself was said to be wary of China, building his statue (left) has required Chinese help
Chinese labourers (above) are said to be among those working on the Statue of Unity - a monument depicting Indian leader Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. Though Patel himself was said to be wary of China, building his statue has required Chinese help, one of the many ironies that have been cited.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

The world's tallest statue, of independence leader, is seen as full of contradiction by some

The world's tallest statue - one depicting Indian independence leader Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel - will be unveiled in the state of Gujarat in little over a month.

But ensuring that the government's king-size paean to nationalism is erected in time has required more than a helping hand from China - a country that is a bugbear for many Indian nationalists.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 23, 2018, with the headline 'India's Statue of Unity has divided opinion'. Print Edition | Subscribe