The idea of level playing field led Election Commission to order covering of statues erected by Mayawati's government. Is covering of statues for that purpose alone or does it have a historical connotation? Read on.
WHO SAID elections are a drab? One only has to read the story of covering Maya’s statues in Uttar Pradesh elections to discover how interesting it can be. I am for one not going to discuss the merits or demerits of election commission’s orders to cover the statues but the very idea itself of covering or uncovering things.
In the history of mankind covering has played a big role. Adam and Eve may have been stark naked. Then the idea of covering emerged. More than protecting the body from environmental changes, it may have to do with containing the sex urge by condemning open display of genitals. Covered private parts could avoid accidental arousal.
Later men made women their private properties and forced them to cover completely to camouflage them from the piercing eyes of their competitors. Next, the era of equality between men and women came, and saw some women to demonstrate their freedom by exposing themselves, at least partially. The women of today exhibit different states of covering and uncovering, some covered from head to toe, some clad just in bikinis.
Covering concealed what otherwise would have been obvious, but increased curiosity. More men must have been attracted to women draped fully in clothes, anxious to uncover them. Do we not hear stories of women being paraded naked by men in the name of punishment?
If it were confined to covering women to discourage sex, one would have understood it. However, things started to move beyond that. We tended to cover everything that we valued. For example, our books have a cover and so does that innocent-looking tea pot, covered with tea cozy. And then you have bed-covers, quilt covers, pillow covers, TV covers, sofa covers, fan blade covers, air-conditioned covers, car covers and what not.
Covering things of utility also made some sense but does covering status, standing under the open skies, in parks and in the city centers, make any sense? It does, if we see the reason through the eyes of our election commission. People in Uttar Pradesh may be influenced to vote for Mayawati but for these a dozen odd statutes standing in an isolated park on the bank of river Yamuna in an indiscreet place on the world map, called Noida. It appeared as if all the roads to the polling stations passed through that park, and people would not only turn their heads towards Mayawati’s statutes but also turn their minds to vote for Mayawati and Mayawati alone.
Perhaps the covering of statues has a deeper meaning. Mayawati represents dalits; the lowest placed and considered untouchables in the age-old four-fold caste system in India. By covering Mayawati’s statues in a way the entire section of dalits is being cordoned off, continuing with untouchability? But as said earlier the covering may arouse curiosity. Whereas other political parties would like to see Mayawati’s party reduced to bare existence, in effect, she may emerge stronger amongst the people she is a champion of.