Prime minister unveils Gandhi statue by Midhurst sculptor

Prime Minister David Cameron at the unveiling of the new Mahatma Gandhi statue in Parliament Square, London. Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA Wire
Prime Minister David Cameron at the unveiling of the new Mahatma Gandhi statue in Parliament Square, London. Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA Wire
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A CELEBRATED Midhurst sculptor and has seen his latest work of art unveiled by the prime minister today (March 14).

Philip Jackson’s statue of Mahatma Gandhi was unveiled in Parliament Square by David Cameron and Indian finance minister Arun Jaitley.

Mr Jackson is also the patron of the popular Midhurst arts festival MADhurst and has exhibited at Chichester Cathedral.

Speaking in the run-up to the statue being revealed, he said the sculpture was inspired by a picture of Gandhi as he was about to go into No 10 Downing Street in 1931, where he met the then prime minister Ramsay MacDonald.

“As this sculpture is going into Parliament Square, it seemed a very good sort of hook to hang a sculpture on,” he said.

“In this square, you’ve got Nelson Mandela and now you’ve got Mahatma Gandhi, who are an extraordinary example to people of how to get things done in a non-violent way and I suppose that Mandela in a way picked up the baton from Gandhi.”

He said there was a ‘certain challenge’ to the sculpture as photography was not as high quality in Gandhi’s lifetime, meaning there was less close-up detail of his features.

At the unveiling this morning, Mr Cameron and Mr Jaitley were joined by Gandhi’s grandson, the former governor of West Bengal, Shri Gopalkrishna Gandhi, and Amitabh Bachchan, one of India’s most prominent actors.

A band played Indian classical music on sitar, Indian flags festooned the square, and schoolchildren stood in the crowd to watch the ceremony.

The prime minister said: “This statue is a magnificent tribute to one of the most towering figures in the history of world politics and by putting Mahatma Gandhi in this famous square we are giving him an eternal home in our country.

Prime Minister David Cameron at the unveiling of the new Mahatma Gandhi statue in Parliament Square, London. Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA Wire

Prime Minister David Cameron at the unveiling of the new Mahatma Gandhi statue in Parliament Square, London. Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA Wire

“Many of his teachings remain as potent today as when he first made them.

“’The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others’ and ‘Be the change that you want to see in the world’ remain timeless, profound and inspiring words of wisdom.

“This statue celebrates the incredibly special friendship between the world’s oldest democracy and its largest, as well as the universal power of Gandhi’s message.

“Our ties with India have remained close throughout history and continue to go from strength to strength – through mutual respect as equals, co-operation and trade, and of course through the 1,500,000 Indians who do so much to make Britain the country it is today, bringing our two countries closer, to the benefit of both.”

The 1931 picture of Gandhi that inspired Philip Jackson's sculpture

The 1931 picture of Gandhi that inspired Philip Jackson's sculpture