Labour figures joined Manchester’s Labour mayor Andy Burnham yesterday at Manchester Cathedral to unveil a statue celebrating the 150th anniversary of the birth of Mahatma Gandhi. The statue was given as a gift to the city by the Shrimad Rajchandra Mission Dharampur (SRMD) movement.
Gandhi was given the honorific “Mahatma” (“Great Soul”) by Indian Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore. He was assassinated on 30 January 1948 in Delhi, at the age of 78.
During a visit to the UK in 1931, 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 cottage industry. During this visit, Gandhi attracted large crowds of admirers and received a warm welcome.
As well as mayor Andy Burnham, Labour was represented at the unveiling by Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner, senior GP and health campaigner Dr Kailash Chand OBE, Manchester council leader Richard Lee, Tameside mayor Leigh Drennan and many other senior figures.
Dr Chand told the SKWAWKBOX:
Gandhi has been the inspiration for civil rights and social change across the world. Among the greats of our times who adopted his philosophy of non-violence and non-cooperative methods are US civil rights leader, Martin Luther King Jr and former South African President, Nelson Mandela.
I grew up with his Nobelist teaching to the world, “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam”, which means “the world is one family”. Every individual important, regardless of his status in society or the position he holds.
In 2013, Corbyn was awarded the Gandhi Foundation International Peace Award. His commitment to peace and human rights is lifelong.
Richard Leese said:
This statue of Mahatma Gandhi, a leader who tirelessly championed the power of peaceful protest, will find a welcome home in Manchester. In the turbulent times we live in, his legacy of peace is one we can all appreciate and reflect on.
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