On October 31, India will unveil the Statue of Unity, a 182-metre statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel built close to the Sardar Sarovar Dam.
The man behind the tallest statue in the world is as legendary as the statue itself. In a story by Ahmedabad Mirror, it is revealed that Ram Vanji Sutar, a 93-year-old sculptor, has had an illustrious career spanning over seven decades.
His celebrated works include over 50 monumental sculptures.
The renowned sculptor’s long list of awards and recognition, include the Padma Shri in 1999, Padma Bhushan and the Tagore Award in 2016.
Sutar was born in a humble household of Gondur, Dhulia district of Maharashtra in 1925. His father was a carpenter, and as a child he used to carve sculptures collecting stones and pebbles from the road.
After finishing class five, he left his village and went with his teacher to another village. He couldn’t study further and was made to do domestic chores.
One night he had a dream about a golden sparrow telling him to follow his passion of art and he ran from the place barefoot, all the way to Mumbai. Since then there was looking back. He did all sorts of menial jobs and saved enough money to get himself admitted into the JJ School of Arts, Mumbai.
He also worked at the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting in Delhi for a few years before quitting his job to follow his passion.
Late Indian PM, Jawaharlal Nehru, was highly impressed by his Chambal Symbolic monument at the Gandhi Sagar Dam. He commissioned him to create a 50-ft bronze monument to mark the craftsmanship of workers who constructed the Bhakra Dam. Known as the Triumph of Labour statue, it still remains a focal point on Labour Day celebrations.
Over the last seven decades, Sutar’s hands have moulded several remarkable statues in India, including some in Russia, England, Malaysia, France and Italy. His works have been exhibited several times all over the world.
Once the work on the Statue of Unity is completed, Sutar will focus on the opening of a war memorial commemorating the contributions of Indian armed forces in World War I.
Even at the age of 93, Sutar continues to work with his son from their studio in Noida.