PM hails Gandhi statue unveiling

Published: Saturday 14th March 2015 by The News Editor

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Mahatma Gandhi will be given an ” eternal home in our country” when a statue of him is unveiled in London today, David Cameron has said.

The civil rights leader is one of the “most towering figures” in history and the bronze sculpture is a “magnificent tribute”, the Prime Minister added.

Created by Philip Jackson, whose previous work includes statues of the Queen Mother and the Bomber Command memorial, it shows Gandhi wearing a shawl and traditional dhoti skirt, with his hands clasped. The work is inspired by photographs of him on the steps of 10 Downing Street during a visit to London in 1931.

It is being unveiled in Parliament Square by Indian finance minister Shri Arun Jaitley in a ceremony that will also include personal tribute from Gandhi’s grandson, former governor of West Bengal Shri Gopalkrishna Gandhi.

Mr Cameron said: “This statue is a magnificent tribute to one of the most towering figures in the history of world politics and by putting Mahatma Gandhi in this famous square we are giving him an eternal home in our country.

“Many of his teachings remain as potent today as when he first made them.

“‘The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others’ and ‘be the change that you want to see in the world’ remain timeless, profound and inspiring words of wisdom.

“This statue celebrates the incredibly special friendship between the world’s oldest democracy and its largest, as well as the universal power of Gandhi’s message.

“Our ties with India have remained close throughout history and continue to go from strength to strength – through mutual respect as equals, cooperation and trade, and of course through the one and a half million Indians who do so much to make Britain the country it is today, bringing our two countries closer, to the benefit of both.”

The ceremony 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 statue were announced by Chancellor George Osborne and former foreign secretary William Hague last year during a visit to the site of Gandhi’s assassination in New Delhi.

Published: Saturday 14th March 2015 by The News Editor

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