2nd October 2020 marked the 151 birth anniversary of India’s great political leader Mahatma Gandhi. As a legacy to his contribution to world peace, this day is celebrated as the International day of Non-Violence. This honor is a reflection of universal respect for the Mahatma (Great Soul), and the enduring relevance of his philosophy.
To commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, a 9ft bronze statue of the icon of peace was unveiled a year ago in Manchester by Pujya Gurudevshri Rakeshbhai, Founder and Spiritual Head of Shrimad Rajchandra Mission Dharampur (SRMD). The Organisation head-quartered in India, is inspired by India’s poet saint and Enlightened Master Shrimad Rajchandraji who was a spiritual guide, mentor and friend of the young Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. This close association moulded and shaped many ideals like non-violence, truth and equality that would later form the bedrock of Gandhi’s ideology. The statue project costs were sponsored by the Kamani Family in memory of their grandfather, fellow scholar, Bhanji Khanji Kamani.
A flower laying ceremony at the statue in Cathedral Square, to mark this day was attended by several dignitaries and representatives from various faiths including the Lord Mayor of Manchester, Councilor Abid Chohan, Mr Navendu Mishra MP, Mrs Aisha Kamani ,Cannon Marcia Wall from Manchester Cathedral, Rabbi Warren Elf, Director, Faith Network for Manchester, Councilors and faith leaders. The simple gesture was a fitting tribute to this simple yet mighty man who changed the world.
Andy Burnham, the Mayor of Greater Manchester marked the occasion by saying;” Gandhi is a leader who championed the power of peaceful protest and his teachings are as relevant today as ever”
Aisha Kamani wife of Mahmud Kamani founder of Boohoo.com, “This statue is significant for the city of Manchester as it represents Mahatma Gandhi’s values of peace ,love and unity, specially right now because of COVID -19.It reminds us to stay loving and open our hearts to the people. I am proud to be part of this through my family and as a Mancunian.”
On the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti, Consul General of India, Birmingham Dr Shashank Vikram said, His legacy continues to be relevant in these times. He felicitated SRMD UK for its social welfare initiatives during this global COVID-19 pandemic crisis. SRMD UK ran a ‘Support our Superheroes’ campaign which distributed gratitude packs to 11,500 key workers. The ongoing ‘Spreading Smiles’ campaign has spent over £57,000 touching 80,720 homeless and vulnerable lives, by supplying over 18,000 kg of food, 19,600 snacks, 21,9600 cups of tea and coffee, 45,300 servings of cereal, 13,860 tins and 39,700 items of PPE equipment to date. In Manchester, volunteers continue to prepare 200 hot meals for the homeless and vulnerable every week.
A global pandemic crisis and climate change devastation, needs cooperation, showing love and respect without discrimination at any level. As humanity faces these challenges together the Mahatma’s words provide inspiration and hope, “In a gentle way you can shake the World.”