Manchester will witness a huge ceremony with lovers of global peace, community leaders and believers of non-violence gathering to unveil a bronze statue of Mahatma Gandhi, to mark the 150th birth anniversary celebrations of the iconic leader who taught the world to use nonviolent resistance to gain independence from the British imperial rule.
A nine feet bronze statue, crafted by renowned Indian artist Ram V Sutar will be unveiled outside the Manchester Cathedral on the 25 November morning, in a public event that will be well-attended by distinguished guests from the UK Government and the Government of India.
Shrimad Rajchandra Mission Dharampur (SRMD), a worldwide spiritual movement headquartered in India, is the main institution behind the initiative, supported aptly by the Manchester City Council, the Manchester Cathedral, Manchester India Partnership, the High Commission of India and the Kamani family of the Boo Hoo group .
The costs of the project is sponsored by the Kamani Family in memory of their grandfather Bhanji Khanji Kamani (1888-1979), while the National planning and development consultancy Turley provides expert planning, design and heritage services for the Mahatma Gandhi statue.
The unveiling is scheduled at 12:15pm on Monday 25 November, and will be preceded by an interfaith service on non-violence, peace and unity from 11am at the Manchester Cathedral.
Organisers have shared the following schedule for the press:
11am: Interfaith service of non-violence, peace and unity hosted by Manchester Cathedral will have readings, poetry and songs about his teachings. Events inside the Cathedral will be shown on a large screen outside assure the organisers as it is an event by invitation.
12 noon: Unveiling Ceremony at the Cathedral Approach, open to the public
Cultural celebrations with dance and music will be held from Manchester University students, vocalist Natasha Seth of the Parrs Wood School choir and Indian dancers will commence before the statue is unveiled.
Manthan Taswala, Head of Public Relations, SRMD UK, said: “Mahatma Gandhi’s teachings remain as potent today as when he first said, ‘be the change that you want to see in the world. Following the 2017 Arena attack, Manchester’s unique civic pride displayed the values of non-violence and compassion. We are inspired by the people of Manchester for their strength, decency and community in the face of this unparalleled tragedy.’’
“The statue of Gandhi will celebrate the universal power of his message. A statue in Manchester will ensure that the heart of our politics and democracy can all be blessed with his ethos,” Manthan added.
Shrimad Rajchandra was Mahatma Gandhi’s spiritual mentor and Gandhi attributes the foundation of his values of non-violence and self-improvement to him. SRMD is also celebrating Gandhi’s birth anniversary by conducting workshops in 16 primary schools in Stockport and Manchester, by educating nearly 2000 children about the Icon of Peace and how through love, compassion and non-violence they too can be the positive forces of change in the world.
During a 1931 visit to the UK, Gandhi visited the textile mills in Lancashire, travelling from London to Blackburn via Manchester, to meet with mill workers and explain the Indian perspective on the boycott of British goods that was damaging their industry. During this visit, Gandhi attracted large crowds of admirers and received a warm welcome.
Rahul Laud wears many hats. He is a senior journalist, and works as the Associate Editor of Asian Lite, based out of Manchester, UK. He is the Curator and Facilitator of SAJDA Festival and is a regular volunteer for the Art of Living and the IAHV global charities. He is a musician himself and teaches the tabla to the younger generation of music enthusiasts.