Who is Ram Vanji Sutar? Meet the man who designed Statue of Unity, world’s tallest sculpture

By: | Updated: October 31, 2018 3:09 PM

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today unveiled the Statue of Unity -- world's tallest statue at 182 metres -- near the Sardar Sarovar Dam on Narmada river in Gujarat.

Who is Ram Vanji SutarWho is Ram Vanji Sutar? Meet the man who designed Statue of Unity, world’s tallest sculpture

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today unveiled the Statue of Unity — world’s tallest statue at 182 metres — near the Sardar Sarovar Dam on Narmada river in Gujarat. The statue is dedicated to India’s first Deputy PM and Home minister Sardar Patel who played a key role in uniting over 550 princely states after partition in 1947. The idea to construct a giant statue of Patel was first proposed by Narendra Modi in 2010 when he was heading the BJP government in Gujarat. But it took around three years to begin the work at the site.

The Statue of Unity has been designed by renowned sculptor Ram Vanji Sutar. Sutar was honoured with Padma Bhushan in 2016 and Padma Shri in 1999 for his valuable contribution in the field of art. Sutar has designed more than 50 sculptures in his career all over the world including the statue of Mahatma Gandhi inside the Parliament complex.

Also Read: Statue of Unity inauguration: PM unveils world’s tallest statue

Sutar was born in a poor family on February 19, 1925 in Gondur village of Dhulia district in Maharashtra. After completing his basic education, Sutar married Pramila in 1952 and the couple has one son Anil who also is a sculptor.

Sutar was initially mentored by Shriram Krishna Joshi. He later joined Sir JJ School of Art in Bombay and won the prestigious Mayo Gold medal for modelling in 1953.

Between 1954 and 1958, Sutar worked as a modeler for Department Archaeology in Aurangabad. He was involved in restoring several ancient sculptures found in Ajanta and Ellora caves. Later, he joined the I&B Ministry in Delhi as a Technical Assistant (Model).

It was in 1959 when Sutar’s life saw a dramatic turn of events when he quit his government job to become a full-time professional sculptor. Since then, Sutar has designed many statues and has invited praise from several quarters for his flawless style of work.

Watch video: PM Modi pays floral tribute to Sardar Patel

Sutar’s first notable work was the 45-feet tall Chambal monument at Gandhi Sagar Dam in Madhya Pradesh. The monument was carved out of single rock. It was inaugurated in 1961 which shows mother Chambal with her two children – Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan that symbolises the brotherhood of the two neighbouring states.

The best well-known work of Sutar includes the statue of Mahatma Gandhi inside Parliament complex. Copies of the same statue were presented to other countries like France, Russia, England and a few others as well.

Other well-known sculptures of Sutar include the 21-feet high Equestrian statue of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in Amritsar, 10-feet high bronze statue of Govind Ballabh Pant overlooking Rafi Marg in Delhi, statue of Bihar Vibhuti Anugrah Narain Sinha and Karpuri Thakur in Bihar Legislative Assembly complex.

In his six decades-long career, Sutar designed over 50 statues. The most notable work of Sutar today is now the State of Unity which is currently the tallest statue in the world at 182 metres. Sutar will turn 94 in February next year.

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