Lord and Lady Desai held a press conference in the House of Lords last week, announcing that the statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Parliament Square is now attracting small and large donations, pouring in from all across the globe. This comes as a welcoming news after the campaigners raised their concern regarding the need for a sum of £600,000, to finish the project on time.
While Lord Meghnad Desai, Chair of the Gandhi Statue Memorial Trust did not disclose the full amount raised so far, speaking about completing the sculpture, and on the fundraising he said: "I had a call yesterday from someone in India and he promised me a six-figure sum in donation. He is a good friend and I am looking forward to that."
"The word is spreading around. We are getting very good support from donors and we have lots of pledges and money is also coming in through our website. I have also written to my colleagues in the House of Lords and they are doing their bit to help too.
"The plan for this last statue in the historical Parliament square was revealed by Chancellor George Osborne with the then Foreign Secretary William Hague, during their visit to India in July."
The Foreign Ministry has confirmed that there are efforts being made to have the Indian Prime Minister Shri Narendr Modi, over for the unveiling on 30th January 2015, but no confirmation has been delivered so far from the PMO.
However, Lord Desai said that though he is hopeful to have the statue ready for unveiling, it would be difficult for him to give an assurance of the precise date of unveiling, as its mandate was limited to raising the funds.
Deepak Yadav, a UK-based Indian entrepreneur who has donated generously, was also present in the press conference and spoke about why it was important for young people come forward and donate- which he considered more as an honour and an investment in the future.
The noted British sculptor Philip Jackson gave a detailed account of how he chose a particular image for Mahatma Gandhi. He said that he was helped by photographs and books given by the famous economist Lord Desai and the Indian High Commissioner, HE Ranjan Mathai.
Mr Jackson also said that he was able to give the Gandhi statue, a look of resoluteness, when he met Gopalkrishna Gandhi recently, who told him about this particular quality that Gandhi possessed.
The statue is now in the process of being cast in bronze, after which it should be ready for the proposed unveiling in early 2015.