Millennium Post

Historic Gandhi statue unveiled at Parliament Square

Gandhi’s 9-foot statue was unveiled jointly by British Prime Minister David Cameron and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley as chants of “Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram”, a popular bhajan that was the Father of the nation’s favourite, reverberated in the air.

A galaxy of political leaders was present at the unveiling along with Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan and Gandhi’s grandson Gopalkrishna Gandhi at the ceremony.

Gandhi is the first Indian and the only person never to have been in a public office to be honoured with a statue at the Square. It stands exactly opposite Britain’s Houses of Parliament in the Palace of Westminster and adjacent to iconic leaders like anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela.

Gandhi’s statue also has Britain’s war-time Prime Minister Winston Churchill for company, an irony
given the ex-premier’s dismissive thoughts of someone he described as a “half naked fakir”.

The statue depicts the leader of the Indian national movement wrapped in a shawl to shield himself from the London cold during his last visit to the British capital in 1931.

“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,” said Cameron.

Jaitley, invited to the UK especially for the unveiling, said the statue was a tribute to the British sense of civility that they now choose to honour someone who was conventionally regarded as their adversary.

“It ... marks an important, historic moment celebrating the strong bond between our two nations,” said Jaitley. “India and the UK share the same values and we are a partnership of equals. This lasting friendship is just one of many legacies left by Gandhi.”
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