In an ironic twist and a symbol of changed times, Mahatma Gandhi, the man who liberated India from the imperial rule, will have his statue installed at Parliament Square in London.
Moving beyond historical wrongs and in a gesture that underscores robust India-Britain ties, India’s Finance minister Arun Jaitley will be inaugurating the statue in Parliament Square in London on March 12, the 85th anniversary of the day Gandhi launched the Dandi March from Sabarmati Ashram to Dandi in 1930.
British Prime Minister David Cameron has justified the decision to install a Gandhi statue alongside Britain’s war-time Prime Minister Winston Churchill and South Africa apartheid leader Nelson Mandela saying, “the initiative would lead to Britain cementing its historical connection with India.”
The installation of the statue was announced during British Foreign Secretary William Hague’s visit to India in 2014.
“He [Gandhi] remains a towering inspiration and a source of strength. We will honour him with a statue alongside those of other great leaders in Parliament Square,” Hague had said.
The announcement from British the parliament had come at the backdrop of the initiative of NRI economist and author Lord Meghnad Desai to raise funds for installing Gandhi statue in British parliament.
This will be Jaitley’s maiden visit to London after the formation of the new government in India.
Mahatma Gandhi is known as the father of nation in India for his unparalleled contribution to India’s struggle for independence. An icon for non-violent civil rights movements around the world, Gandhi been an inspiration for many world leaders from Dr Martin Luther King to Nelson Mandela. Like many founding fathers of India, Gandhi has a special connection to London as he studied law in the British capital.
The casting of the Gandhi statue was finished in December 2014; now it is ready and a plinth has been laid in the square next to the House of Commons and the Big Ben.
Mr Cameron said, “I always remember Gandhi’s message to journalists- if you want to find yourself, you should lose yourself in the service of others and you should be the change that you want to see in the world.”
(Vikas Lather contributed inputs for this article)
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