London: The four Gandhi statues in Britain until this week didn’t of course have to wait for any special anniversary. But the fifth unveiled outside Manchester cathedral on Monday was a timely arrival. And as it turned out, after some misgivings expressed earlier, a warmly welcomed arrival in the November chill.Andy Burnham, mayor of Greater Manchester, was among several dignitaries at the unveiling ceremony attended by several people outside the Manchester Cathedral. At 9 feet, it is one of the tallest Gandhi statues outside India.
The project to install the statue of the apostle of non-violence in a city hit by terror attack in May 2017 was initiated by the charity organisation Shrimad Rajchandra Mission Dharampur (SRMD). Shrimad Rajchandra was one of Gandhi’s mentors.Supported by the Manchester Cathedral, Manchester City Council, the Manchester India Partnership and the High Commission of India, the statue unveiling event was attended by
However, the plans were previously met with criticism from some who claimed Gandhi had shown “well-documented racism”.Crowds gathered in the rain to watch the unveiling, which was accompanied by performances from the University of Manchester Indian Dance Society and The Indian Choir of England, among others.
A service at the cathedral also featured readings, poetry and songs.The statue was given to the city by the Shrimad Rajchandra Mission Dharampur (SRMD), a worldwide spiritual movement.Organiser Aadit Virani said: “The main reason for having the statue in Manchester is to share in the multi-faith and multi-cultural city that is Manchester.It’s a direct response to the [Manchester Arena attack] that happened in 2017, to show that love and compassion can always overcome hatred.”