Free Press Journal

‘Statue outside UK parliament should be of political Gandhi’


Vadodara: Indian-origin political theorist Prof Lord Bhikhu Parekh, who is president of Gandhi Foundation, UK, today said here that putting up statue of Mahatma Gandhi outside the British Parliament was “an excellent idea”.

The proposal has been opposed by some women’s activists and others in Britain.

“The statue is an excellent idea that is long overdue. It is great pity that Labour government in UK never thought of it, and the Conservative party government thought of it only in the context of better trade relations with India,” he said.

British foreign secretary William Hague and chancellor of exchequer George Osborne during their recent visit to India announced the plan to erect the statue at Parliament Square.

“I am disappointed that the design of the statue was not widely discussed and there was no real public consultation. Since the wider public is raising all the money, it should take ownership of the statue by being involved in its planning and design,” Parekh added.

“I hope the statue will represent political and not religious Gandhi. Gandhi leading the Dandi march, and not Gandhi in meditation or prayer. It is this (political) Gandhi who shaped modern India and best fits into the Parliament Square,” he said.

The statue will symbolise post-imperial reconciliation between Britain and India, among other things, he said.      About opposition to the statue over Gandhi’s views on caste system, etc and certain aspects of his personal life, Parekh said it is intended to honour his contribution to India and has nothing to do with his personal life.