KUALA LUMPUR: In a symbolic gesture, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Mod, along with his Malaysian counterpart Najib Razak, jointly inaugurated Toran Gate at Little India in Kuala Lumpur, which is set to open new pathways for deepening cultural bond between the two nations.
After holding talks with Mr Razak earlier in the day, Mr Modi inaugurated the gate at the Little India enclave in Brickfields. The Torana Gate, which is a gift from India to mark the launch of Kuala Lumpur’s Little India project, was built at an estimated cost of USD 1.1 million. Hundreds of Indian-origin people lined up in the streets to get a glimpse of Mr Modi, who enjoys tremendous support from the Indian diaspora.
At the inauguration Mr Modi said, Torana Gate is “not merely a piece of art on stone. This is connecting two nations and illustrates the two great cultures.”
“The inauguration of Torana Gate shows India-Malaysia ties are not only economical but also cultural. I am sure ties between India and Malaysia will be stronger and deeper in the times to come,” Mr Modi added.
Speaking about the potential of the place, Mr Modi said: “Several tourists come to Kuala Lumpur and they want to come to Little India. Now they will want to go to see the Torana.” He added that it will become a major tourist attraction.
Mr Modi said the gate will be a milestone in India’s relations with Malaysia. After cutting the inauguration ribbon Mr Modi and Mr Razak signed a plaque. Mr Razak said the gateway was a gift from India and a labour of love. “It is a symbol of ties and friendship between the two peoples and marked yet another high point in the long history of India and Malaysia,” he said. “It is symbolic and substantive. It is a clear signal of closer cooperation and people to people interaction,” he added.
The Torana Gate is inspired by the Toranas of the great Buddhist sculpture of Sanchi. It has carvings and relief work representing ancient Indian art as well as the Islamic art form.
The chief designer and architect of the Torana, Kshitij Jain said, “Toranas, built by the great Mauryan dynasty ruler, Ashoka, in first century BC, essentially depict symbols related to Buddhism.”
Malaysia has a two million strong Indian diaspora, which constitutes seven to eight percent of Malaysia’s population. There are over 130,000 Indian expats legally employed in Malaysia in professional as well as skilled and semi-skilled category. The contribution of Malay-Indians as they are known has been significant. From doctors to engineers to IT professionals, they have all played a stellar role in Malaysia’s growth. In his address to the Indian diaspora on November 22, Mr Modi hailed the contributions of the Indian community in Malaysia and also announced a grant of USD 1 million for Indian students of Malaysia.
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