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India begins construction on the world's largest statue

India Statue of Unity

The Statue of Liberty is one of the most recognizable statues in the world, but soon it'll be dwarfed by the sheer size of India's planned Statue of Unity. The new statue of Sardar Patel, the first home minister of independent India, will be the largest in the world — its planned height of 600 feet means it'll be just about twice as tall as the Statue of Liberty. According to AFP, the meta statue will take about four years to complete and cost an estimated $300 million, to be funded through public funds and private donations.

However, India is also asking its citizens to chip in — the country is soliciting donations of scrap metal and tools to be used in the statue's construction. "We have asked farmers from every village in India to give old pieces of their agricultural tools, just 200 grams or 400 grams would do," said Narendra Modi, chief minister of the western India state of Gujarat and the driving force behind the statue. Beyond the sheer architectural marvel, the statue also has some political undertones — it will depict Sardar Patel, the first home minister of independent India and a member of the country's Congress party. That party is the main political rival of Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party in next year's elections. Modi's been positioning himself as a candidate who can reach across the huge country's 1.2 billion people, and his Statue of Unity might help him achieve those goals.

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