Mahatma Gandhi’s 75th death anniversary, marked on January 30 as Martyrs’ Day, was commemorated with tributes at the statue of the Father of the Indian Nation’s at Parliament Square and Tavistock Square in London.
Indian High Commissioner to the UK Vikram Doraiswami was joined by community leaders, parliamentarians and Indian diaspora representatives to pay floral tributes and reflect upon the legacy of the Mahatma.
At Parliament Square, a minute’s silence was held as a mark of respect against the backdrop of the chimes from the Big Ben.
Doraiswami said: “It’s always a poignant moment to remember Mahatma Gandhi on the day of his martyrdom.
“Mahatma Gandhi‘s message was his life and his life was his message. To be able to do what he did and to live it on a daily basis ought to be an inspiration to all of us.”
Lord Meghad Desai, Founder of the Gandhi Statue Memorial Trust — the organisation behind the charity drive which resulted in the statue being unveiled at the iconic London square in 2015, reflected upon the symbolism of the sculpture facing the UK’s Parliament complex.
Lord Desai said: “We all remember Mahatma Gandhi in our own special ways, and there are many ways to remember him.
“But London had a special meaning for the Mahatma and for us, it’s a special meaning that he is here at Parliament Square staring at the Parliament for which he made a lot of trouble. It’s a great place to honour and remember him.”
The Bangladeshi High Commissioner to the UK, Saida Muna Tasneem, spoke of the Gandhian influence on Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibir Rehman: “In Bangladesh, we believe in the Mahatma’s message of Ahimsa or non-violence and Satyagraha, which means passive and peaceful resistance.
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“That is the ideology that our Founding Father, Bangabandhu who was a Gandhian at heart, believed in.”
The Gandhi Memorial Event at Parliament Square was organised as a diaspora-wide commemoration of Martyrs’ Day by the Gandhi Statue Memorial Trust with the support of the Indian High Commission in London and the India (Trade and Investment) All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG).