Statue of Equality – Description, Design, Sri Ramanujacharya UPSC

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

Statue of Equality, or Ramanuja statue, is a bronze statue of 11th-century Vaishnavaite Ramanuja that is 36 kilometers away from Hyderabad. It is the second tallest statue in the world. The Statue of Equality was inaugurated by the PM, marking the 1,000th birth anniversary of Ramanujacharya as the ‘Festival of Equality’. Statue of Equality is a 216-foot-tall figure crafted of ‘panchaloha,’ a five-metal alloy consisting of gold, silver, copper, brass, and zinc.

The statue and the temple complex surrounding it were built by the Sri Chinna Jeeyar Swami, a spiritual leader, and philanthropist, with the aim of promoting the message of social harmony and equality. This article will delve into the details of the Statue of Equality, its historical significance, and the philosophy behind its construction which can be important from the IAS exam perspective.

What is the Statue of Equality?

The Statue of Equality, or the Ramanuja statue, is a depiction of the 11th-century Vaishnavaite, Ramanuja, on the premises of the Chinna Jeeyar Trust in Muchintal, Ranga Reddy district, 36 kilometers from the Hyderabad. The Statue of Equality is one of the world’s tallest metallic sculptures in a sitting position.

Statue of Equality UPSC Notes

The initiative to build the Ramanujacharya statue came from the trust in order to commemorate the one-thousandth anniversary of Ramanuja’s birth. The project, which cost an estimated Rs. 1,000 crores (US $130 million), was mostly funded by donations from devotees. This statue is named the ‘Statue of Equality’ by the trust.

Features of Statue of Equality

  • The Statue of Equality is the world’s second-tallest sitting statue.
  • At its base, there is a library, a research centre, Indian scriptures, a theatre, and a gallery. Ramanuja’s paintings are on display in the gallery.

Statue of Equality Design

In 2014, the idea of a statue commemorating the 1000th anniversary of Ramanuja’s teachings was brought forth by ascetic Chinna Jeeyar.

  • The Statue of Equality would have a ground floor of 6,000 square meters and would depict Ramanuja’s life and philosophy.
  • On the 27,870 square meters on the second floor of the temple, there would be a spot for daily worship.
  • On the 3,365 square meters third floor, there would be a library for research in the Vedic faith.
  • For the construction of an Omnimax theatre in the shape of a planetarium featuring the life stories of Ramanuja, 14 models were designed according to Agama Shashtra and Shilpa Shastra.

Who was Ramaujacharya?

Ramanujacharya was a respected social reformer and a Vedic philosopher. He was born in Sriperumbudur, Tamil Nadu, in 1017 CE. He lived till 1137 CE. His birth name was Lakshmana. Ilaya Perumal, which translates to “the shining one,” was another name for him.

  • He promoted social justice and equality in India.
  • He is well-known for being the main advocate of the Vedanta subschool of Vishishtadvaita (The non-dualistic school of Vedanta philosophy).
  • Later, he produced various Vedic scripture commentaries as well as the nine scriptures. Those are known as the Navaratnas.
  • The Sri Bhasya, or “True Commentary,” by Ramanuja on the Vedanta Sutras and the Bhagavad-Gita are two of his most significant works (the Gitabhasya, or “Commentary on the Gita”).
  • His other works include the Vedantasara (“Essence of Vedanta”), the Vedartha Samgraha (“Summary of the Meaning of the Veda”), and the Vedantadipa (“Lamp of Vedanta”).
  • Additionally, he has emphasized the need to respect nature and not overuse it.
  • He resurrected the Bhakti movement.
  • Various Bhakti schools of thought were inspired by his sermons.
  • Poets like Annamacharya, Bhakta Ramdas, Thyagaraja, Kabir, and Meerabai are said to have drawn inspiration from him.

Why is it called the Statue of Equality?

At a time when many castes were prohibited from accessing temples, Ramanuja advocated for social equality across all groups of people. He encouraged them to welcome everyone regardless of caste or social standing. So it is the Statue of Equality due to the following factors.

  • He provided education to people who lacked it.
  • His greatest role is the spread of the idea that “all of creation is one family,” or “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam.”
  • He spent several decades traveling the length and breadth of India, speaking from temple platforms about social equality and interconnectedness.
  • He requested that the royal courts accept the social outcasts and condemn them as equals while embracing them.
  • He advocated for everyone’s redemption via a commitment to God, kindness, humility, equality, and respect for others; He discussed the Sri Vaishnava Sampradaya, which advocates devotion to God, humility, compassion, equality, and respect for one another, as a means of achieving global salvation.
  • With the fundamental belief that every person is equal irrespective of nationality, gender, color, caste, or faith, Ramanujacharya freed countless societal, religious, sex, academic, and class exploitation.

Construction of Statue of Equality

The construction of the statue was led by Chinna Jeeyar. Work on the statue began in November 2017. Based in Nanjing, the Aerosun Corporation company was contracted in August 2015 to be the company to build the Statue of Equality.

  • A final design model was scanned in three dimensions and then sent to the Aerosun Corporation to be built. Seven hundred tons of a five-metal alloy consisting of gold, silver, copper, brass, and zinc were used to build the statue.
  • Statue of Equality was created in China and later shipped in 1600 individual pieces to India via Chennai Port in 54 shipments.
  • A group of around 60 Chinese workers, engineers, and welders came together to build the Muchintal solar farm over the course of 2017 and 2018.
  • The assembly was undertaken at the Muchintal solar farm site in Hyderabad.
  • The gold hues of the statue can be guaranteed for the next 20 years thanks to Aerosun Corporation.
  • The base building in the courtyard below the Bhadravedi statue is 54 feet (16 m) tall and three stories high.
  • On top of this building sits a lotus flower, 27 feet (8.2 m) in diameter, with 36 elephants carrying it.
  • Over these elephants lies the statue.
  • The dimension of the lotus at 27 feet represents 24 tattvas, and the remaining 3 represent the soul, god, and the guru.
  • The Statue of Equality has a concrete core that is surrounded by a panchaloha sheet with a thickness varying between 10 mm and 20 mm.
  • There is a small meditation hall inside the complex with a golden sculpture of Ramanuja, depicting the number of years he lived. The surrounding 108 Divyadesams, carved out of stone, follow suit.
  • The big, golden statue inside the plaza building was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 5, 2022. The little golden statue inside the smaller building was inaugurated by the President of India Ram Nath Kovind on February 13, 2022.

Statue of Equality UPSC

The Statue of Equality is an important topic for the Civil Services Exam as it represents the values of equality and social justice that are essential to the Indian Constitution. Sri Ramanujacharya Swamy was a revered saint and social reformer who challenged the caste system and advocated for the upliftment of the oppressed sections of society. The statue, which stands at a height of 216 feet, is a symbol of his teachings and the ideals of the Indian freedom struggle. For UPSC aspirants, knowledge about the statue and its significance can help in answering questions related to Indian culture, history, and society.

Statue of Equality UPSC Questions

Question 1: Where is the Statue of Equality located in India? a) New Delhi b) Mumbai c) Hyderabad d) Chennai

Answer: c) Hyderabad

Question 2: What is the height of the Statue of Equality? a) 108 feet b) 128 feet c) 148 feet d) 216 feet

Answer: d) 216 feet

Question 3: Consider the following statements about Ramanujacharya. a) He wrote Sri Bhasya and Gita Bhasya b) His disciple Ramananda spread his guru’s message in the Northern parts of India.

Which of the above is/are correct? (a) 1 Only (b) 2 Only (c) Both 1 and 2 (d) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: c) Both 1 and 2

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