Abu Dhabi: A statue of Mahatma Gandhi, India’s Father of the Nation, newly installed at a community centre in the capital will help inculcate the great leader’s values in youngsters, a top Indian diplomat said.
Unveiling the Gandhi statue at the Indian Social and Cultural Centre (ISC) on Thursday evening, Navdeep Singh Suri, the Indian Ambassador to the UAE, said: “I hope that the presence of Gandhi’s statue will nurture respect and commitment to his values and also inculcate them in the younger generation.”
The envoy congratulated the ISC for this initiative and honoured the sculptor and others who worked tirelessly for this purpose.
The 90-centimetre-tall statue weighing 60 kilograms was created by Chithran Kunhi Mangalam from Payyanur in Kerala, the place renowned for its role in the India’s independence movement.
Gandhi and his ideals are close to the sculptor and his townspeople as the great leader had visited Payyannur on January 12, 1934.
Kunhi Mangalam has made many sculptures and received many awards.
Jayachandran Nair, honorary acting president of the ISC, said: “By putting this monument in our ISC, we are giving Mahatma an eternal home in this country. This statue echoes the incredibly special friendship between the Indian diaspora in the UAE and the universal power of Gandhi’s message.”
Nair said the statue was the realisation of a dream of V.T.V. Damodaran, an ISC member and founder and president of Gandhi Sahitya Vedi in Abu Dhabi, a voluntary organisation promoting Gandhi’s ideals.
Damodaran, who is also from Payyannur in Kerala, said he received support from Sudhir Kumar Shetty, president of UAE Exchange, and the Indian ambassador and his colleagues at the embassy for the project.
“The unveiling of the statue coincides with the centenary celebration of the late Shaikh Zayed, the father of this great nation who loved Mahatma and Indians at large,” he said, adding Emiratis give a lot of respect to Gandhi, which was always reflected in various speeches of the Emirati officials at various Indian community events.
“The world is looking for Gandhian thoughts, especially non-violence. I wish our young generation should remember Gandhi when back in India people often forget him,” Damodaran said.
On January 30, India remembered Mahatma Gandhi as it observed the 70th death anniversary of the Father of Nation, who was shot dead in 1948.