Durbanite speaks at Gandhi unveiling in Texas

2014-10-08 00:00

MAHATMA Gandhi’s great-grandson, a Durban resident, spoke at the unveiling of a new statue of Gandhi in Texas.

Satish Dhupelia, speaking to The Witness shortly after his arrival at King Shaka International Airport yesterday evening, said the statue was one of the best of Gandhi that he had seen.

Dhupelia was the chief guest at the unveiling of the two-metre statue in the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Plaza in Thomas Jefferson Park in the Dallas suburb of Irving.

The unveiling took place on the 145th anniversary of Gandhi’s birth on October 2.

The statue was erected by the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial of North Texas (MGMNT) with assistance from the Indian American Friendship Council (IAFC). Together they raised the R7,8 million required for the project.

According to Dhupelia, the MGMNT had been working with Irving municipal officials since 2010 on the project with the object of finding an appropriate site for the statue. The municipality approved the plans for the siting of the statue in January this year.

The statue was created by award-winning sculptor Burra Varaprasad from Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh, India.

As well as speaking at the unveiling ceremony, Dhupelia also gave talks on Gandhi’s life and philosophy and took part in a Gandhi Walk.

“I was amazed at the interest and enthusiasm of people in Gandhi and his philosophy,” he said.

Though Dallas has a large Indian-American population, the event was not exclusively Indian.

“There were about 70% Indian-Americans and 30% from other groups,” said Dhupelia.

“Obviously, we would like see this spread more evenly. Gandhi is not just for Indians or the Gandhi family, but for the world.”

Dhupelia said he hoped the statue would be a reminder to people to take up Gandhian values.

“We use iPads and iPhones to remind us to go to meetings. I hope when people drive past this statue, it will be a thought-provoking experience and inspire them to apply Gandhi’s philosophy.”

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