A bronze statue of Mahatma Gandhi could be erected outside Manchester Cathedral to celebrate the 150th anniversary year of his birth.
Subject to planning permission, the 9ft high, 800kg statue – crafted by renowned Indian artist Ram V Sutar – will be the first in a series of public realm improvements in Manchester’s Medieval Quarter.
The statue is intended to express harmony between form and function, place and purpose, history and present. Manchester, as UK’s second largest city, has stood together against those who would seek to destroy multi-racial, multi-ethnic societies.
Gandhi regarded nations not as abstract legal entities but as agglomerations of human beings and international relationships should be founded on interdependence and love.
Among his famous quotes, Gandhi said: “Non-violence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man” and “You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is like an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.”
Letters of support have been received from local business owners and representatives from both religious and non-religious organisations across Manchester and beyond.
Sponsors of the project say that following the 2017 Arena attack, Manchester’s unique civic pride displayed the values of non-violence and compassion. They are inspired by the people of Manchester for their strength, decency and community in the face of this unparalleled tragedy.
A statue of Gandhi in central Manchester would ensure that the heart of our politics and democracy can all be blessed with his ethos and wisdom today, tomorrow and for generations to come. Gandhi taught all to not use war and violence, but instead, use peaceful protests.
Gandhi, who led India to independence from Britain in 1947 after years of non-violent campaigns and protests, was no stranger to the north of England.
During a 1931 visit to the UK, Gandhi travelled from London to Blackburn via Manchester to meet with mill workers and explain the Indian perspective on the boycott of British goods that was damaging their industry. During this visit, Gandhi received a warm welcome and attracted large crowds of admirers.
The International Day of Non-Violence is celebrated on 2nd October – Gandhi’s birthday – to disseminate the message of non-violence, peace, tolerance, understanding through education and public awareness.
If planning approval is granted, the unveiling of the statue will take place in November this year. The project is supported by Manchester Cathedral, Manchester City Council, High Commission of India, Greater Manchester Lieutenancy office and the Manchester-India Partnership.