Gandhi statue set to be unveiled

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Published: Sunday 22nd February 2015 by The News Editor

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A statue of Mahatma Gandhi, the “inspirational” leader of India’s independence movement, will be unveiled outside the Houses of Parliament next month.

The bronze sculpture by Philip Jackson, which shows Gandhi wearing a shawl and traditional dhoti skirt, with his hands clasped, is inspired by photographs of the civil rights leader on the steps of 10 Downing Street during a visit to London in 1931.

The statue will be unveiled in London’s Parliament Square on March 14 after donations to the Gandhi Statue Memorial Trust reached more than £1 million, the Government said.

The memorial will be the focal point of events in Britain this summer to mark the 100th anniversary of Gandhi’s return to India from South Africa to start the country’s struggle for self-rule.

Plans for the memorial were announced by Chancellor George Osborne and former foreign secretary William Hague in July during a visit to the site of Gandhi’s assassination in New Delhi.

Prime Minister David Cameron said: ” Mahatma Gandhi is an inspiration. His approach of non-violence will resonate forever as a positive legacy – not just for the UK and India, but the world over.

“He was a man of great insight and many of his observations remain as fresh and relevant today as when he first made them – that we should be the change we wish to see in the world is timeless advice, well worth following.

“The statue in Parliament Square not only marks his huge importance in the history of both our countries, but will enrich the firm bond of friendship between the world’s oldest democracy and its largest.”

Culture Secretary Sajid Javid said: ” Gandhi is one of the most inspirational figures in history and the statue will be a fitting symbol to his teachings of non-violent, peaceful protests. It also highlights the strength of the relationship and friendship that Britain has with India today.

“I would like to thank Lord Desai and the work of the Gandhi Statue Memorial Trust for raising the funds to make this happen. It is right that Gandhi’s teachings and work are not forgotten and the statue will keep his legacy alive and inspire many young people to learn his incredible story.”

Lord Desai, chairman of the Gandhi Statue Memorial Trust, said: ” It is great that there will be a monument honouring Gandhi in London’s Parliament Square, which was one of his favourite cities. He is the first Indian and the only person honoured with a statue in the Square who never held public office.

“Generous donors have contributed sums from a pound up to hundreds of thousands of pounds from UK, India and around the world. On behalf of the Gandhi Statue Memorial Trust we thank all who made it possible for us to exceed our target of a million pounds within six months. As Gandhi said ‘If the cause is right the means will come ‘.”

Published: Sunday 22nd February 2015 by The News Editor

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