Right outside the Dadar railway junction in Mumbai’s Dadar (East) stands an 18-feet artwork named ‘Circle of Unity’ showing six children forming a three-tier human pyramid representing a slogan in Gujarati ‘Samp Suhradbhav Ekta’ meaning ‘Integrity, Empathy, and Unity’.
The child atop the human chain is seen doing a ‘namaste’ greeting in the direction of Swami Narayan Temple which is said to be symbolic of paying obeisance to the importance of having integrity, empathy, and unity among human beings.
The Dadar Junction is one of the most crowded junctions in Mumbai where people from diverse cultures from across India throng the railway station. Hence the makers of the artwork felt they needed to spread a message that reflects ‘Indian culture’ in its totality and basic human values.
The work made of fiberglass was installed in 2017 by Bochasanwasi Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) Swami Narayan Temple with permission from the civic body Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
Artist swami Bhramcharan Das and architect Jayendra Patel who were tasked with ideating and creating the artwork were asked to come up with an idea that represents the social slogan.
“The slogan is given by our Pujya Mahant Swami Maharaj, the present guru of BAPS. We thought of making a human pyramid as an act of showing unity. It also represents Maharashtra’s culture of ‘Dahi Handi’. As the artwork is installed at a circular place we decided to name it ‘Circle of Unity’. Mr. Das and his team are the temple’s ‘Swayamsevaks’ (volunteers) and we did not take a penny to make the artwork,” said Patel.
Explaining why images of children were used to depict the message, Swami Prasannamuni, convenor of the temple, said that Samp means integrity, which is chaining together mind, body, and soul, just like a child is attached to its parents. “Suhradbhav means empathy. It is feeling each other’s pain. When a child sees another child cry, he starts crying himself. ‘Ekta’ means unity. A child never speaks ill, thinks ill or does ill to anyone. Individuals with unity do not speak ill of each other,” the Swami said.
Keeping in mind the continuous smoke emissions from surroundings, the artists chose to keep the art work in black colour. This, according to them, will require less maintenance as the piece of art would not get spoiled by emissions from taxi cabs, buses, and private vehicles moving around all the time.
Due to the heavy footfall in the area, the makers did not toy with the idea of having colourful lights to avoid the chances of electrocution and a water fountain to avoid the breeding of mosquitoes. The artwork only needs to be dusted occasionally, the makers said.
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Jayprakash S NaiduJayprakash S Naidu is a Principal Correspondent with The Indian Expres… read more

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