The India League and Indian High Commission in UK organised the 50th anniversary of the Gandhi statue in Tavistock Square on Thursday 17 May 2018. Attended by the Deputy High Commissioner of India to UK Ambassador Dinesh Patnaik, Minister of Coordination A S Rajan, Virendra Sharma MP, India League Chairman CB Patel attended the anniversary to pay homage and offer flowers to Gandhiji's statue.
The India League were very instrumental in introducing Gandhi's statue to Tavistock Square in London. The statue was sculpted by Fredda Brilliant, and was erected by the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Committee, with the support and guidance of the India League. The Father of the Nation's statue was unveiled on 17th May 1968 by the Prime Minister, Rt. Hon Harold Wilson MP. The first High Commissioner of independent India, V.K. Krishna Menon, was also at the unveiling of Mahatma Gandhi's statue in Bloomsbury. The High Commissioner of India to the UK then was Mr S.S. Dhawan.
The London Borough of Camden gave a very prime sight in Central London for Gandhi's statue, which to this day is very well maintained by India House. The staff at the High Commission of India UK, clean and maintain the statue at Tavistock Square on Gandhi's birth anniversary (2nd October) and Gandhi's Martyr Day (30 January).
CB Patel spoke about the history of this statue. He said, “I was here during the inauguration. Today's event is a token of our respect but there will be a bigger event at UCL on 2 October.”
Ambassador Dinesh Patnaik said, “Statues are not about history but it is about present. It is a message of what we had and what we need to celebrate. Putting up statues actually gets the next generation to understand what happened in the past...Statues tell us about ourselves. What do we want to celebrate. When I see people standing here it makes my proud that people are still holding on to traditions.
“You have to understand the timing of this statue. Only 21 years after independence, this is the British government that actually allowed a statue of the person who brought down the British Raj. The liberal values that the British government had that time, need also to continue now...”
Virendra Sharma MP said, “Bapuji's message to the rest of the world, message of equality and prosperity which he preached as a vision and dream and before the Indian independence. We living outside India also carry that message...”
Geetika Sulekh, a mum and a melodious singer, was present at the square to sing few of Gandhji's favourite Bhajans and songs, and also to pay homage to India's 'Father of the nation.'