Plans to erect a statue of Indian independence leader Mahatma Gandhi in the centre of Manchester have been submitted to the city council.
The 9ft statue would be gifted to the city by the family of Bhanji Khanji Kamani, a fellow classmate of Mahatma Gandhi, and positioned on Victoria Street outside Manchester Cathedral.
The project is being led by Shrimad Rajchandra Mission Dharampur (SRMD), the group behind the ‘Let Us Make a Change Peace by Peace’ event held in Albert Square in 2017. The statue will be used to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Gandhi’s birth on 2nd October 2019.
In a statement, SRMD said it was inspired by the “strength, decency and community” shown by the people of Manchester following the Manchester Arena bombing in May 2017.
According to the application, the project sponsors will commission renowned Indian sculptor Ram V Sutar to create the piece. Mr Sutar carved all the statues in the Indian Parliament and his Gandhi carving has been installed in 300 cities worldwide.
Statements of support for the project have been received from numerous businesses and organisations. SRMD said the scheme has the backing of Manchester Cathedral, mosques, temples, and synagogues, as well as non-religious organisations including Faith Network for Manchester, Indian High Commission, Manchester Indian Partnership and Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham.
SRMD’s application states: “Gandhi taught all to not use war and violence, but instead, use peaceful protests. Non-violence, peace and co-existence are much needed in Manchester especially after the tragic Arena attacks of 2017. The statue will express harmony between form and function, place and purpose, history and present.”
The planning application is expected to be discussed at a meeting this summer. SRMD hopes to unveil the completed piece on November 25.
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