A privately financed statue of Mahatma Gandhi will be unveiled in London’s Parliament Square on March 14th, the BBC reports. The statue was commissioned after the Gandhi Statue Memorial Trust, and its chairman Lord Desai achieved the target of collecting £1 million in donations towards the memorial.
The new work is inspired by a photograph of Gandhi on a visit to 10 Downing Street in 1931, the statue has been created by the Scottish sculptor, Philip Jackson, and will depict the Indian independence campaigner wearing a traditional Indian dhoti skirt and shawl.
British Culture Secretary, Sajid Javid, said in a statement to the press “It is right that Gandhi’s teachings and work are not forgotten and the statue will keep his legacy alive and inspire many young people to learn his incredible story.”
Gandhi will be the first Indian, and the only person never to have been in public office, to be honoured with a statue in the square. The new memorial will stand alongside those of Abraham Lincoln and Nelson Mandela opposite the Houses of Parliament.
Lord Desai, chairman of the Gandhi Statue Memorial Trust added, “On behalf of the Gandhi Statue Memorial Trust we thank all who made it possible for us to exceed our target of a million pounds within six months. As Gandhi said, ‘If the cause is right the means will come.'”
Having earned a law degree in London, the revered civil rights leader returned to his homeland to lead the resistance against British colonial rule. Gandhi was assassinated in January 1948, only months after India gained independence from Great Britain.
British Prime Minister, David Cameron, spoke of Gandhi’s advocacy of peaceful, non-violent civil disobedience, telling the BBC, “Mahatma Gandhi is an inspiration. His approach of non-violence will resonate forever as a positive legacy–not just for the UK and India, but the world over. The statue in parliament square not only marks his huge importance in the history of both our countries, but will enrich the firm bond of friendship between the world’s oldest democracy and its largest.”