A historic bronze statue of Mahatma Gandhi was unveiled yesterday at the Parliament Square in London, in a rare honor bestowed by the British government. Mahatma 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.
The 9 foot statue is 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 Mahatma Gandhi’s favourite. The statue stands exactly opposite Britain’s Houses of Parliament in the Palace of Westminster and adjacent to iconic leaders like anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela.
Many political leaders were present at the unveiling along with Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan and Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson Gopalkrishna Gandhi.
“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 Mr Cameron.
Quoting some of Gandhi’s famous words, the British Prime Minister highlighted how his teachings remain as potent today.
“It is a great tribute to both British liberalism and British democracy that they have now chosen Gandhi to share what is the most prominent public space in this country. It is a great day when two adversaries and contrarian viewpoints converge to appreciate each other,” Mr Jaitley said.
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.