Above: L-R High Commissioner Mr Sinha, Carwyn Jones, Vimla Patel, Satish Dhupelia, Raj Aggarwal.
A six-foot-high statue of Mahatma Gandhi has been unveiled in Cardiff to mark the 148th anniversary of the iconic Indian spiritual leader’s birth.
A crowd of nearly 1,000 people gathered near the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay for Monday’s ceremony, which was led by First Minister Carwyn Jones and the Indian High Commissioner Mr Y.K. Sinha.
The 300kg bronze statue was created by father and son Ram and Anil Sutar from Noida, near Delhi. It shows Gandhi wearing homespun traditional Indian clothing, standing with a staff in one hand and the Hindu book The Bhagavad Gita in the other.
At the base of the statue is a marble plaque with an inscription in Welsh and English that reads: “Non-violence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man.”
October 2 is now officially recognised by the UN as the International Day of Non-Violence, and the event was attended by a large number of dignitaries, including Raj Aggarwal OBE, Honorary Consul for India in Wales.
He said: “Today is a great day for Cardiff, Wales, the UK and the world. I feel we are truly blessed to have this statue, which will bring the presence of the great Gandhi ji on our doorstep.
“We are truly touched that some many people came her today for this unveiling ceremony. It is so important to remember this great man and his achievements. His selfless life’s work produced a peace loving sovereign democracy in India, but his legacy is even greater than that. He showed that peaceful coexistence and tolerance of others is the only way to live and that all disputes can be resolved without violence.”
Also in attendance was Mahatma Gandhi’s great-grandson, Mr Satishkumar Dhupelia, who travelled from South Africa for the ceremony.
It took the Hindu Council of Wales three years to raise funds to commission the statue. Vimla Patel, the organisation’s chairman, said she hoped it would inspire others.
She said: “Mahatma Gandhi’s statue is an inspiration to current and future generations to live to together in peace and harmony and to treat each other with love and irrespective of one’s religion, culture or race.
“It has taken three years of hard work to bring this important project to fruition my sincere thanks go to all of the members of Hindu Council of Wales for all their hard work and in particular the Late Rt Hon Rhodri Morgan for his efforts and support.”