By Neeraj Nanda
MELBOURNE, 12 November 2021: Mahamata Gandhi’s first statue was today unveiled in Victoria by Prime Minister Scot Morrison at the Australian Indian Community Center, Rowville as rain and wild winds lashed Melbourne.
Later addressing those gathered the PM said, “Gandhi’s life is his message, a message that endures. It’s not a whisper from the past, but teaching embedded in the hearts of millions around the world and reflected in every respect of this building, every aspect. So, congratulations, and I win, I wish, I should say, this centre a long and illustrious life, but more importantly, I wish the vibrancy of this community every success.”
“There is just an easiness, a natural connection between Indian culture and this wonderful land. And it just sits very comfortably and it comes so naturally. And that’s why community centres such as this are so important. But, also, between Australia and India, we do, we do share very important beliefs and values in democracy and liberal democracy, in believing in the individual, their enterprise and their freedom, in particular. And to unveil a statue in honour of Mahatma Gandhi, this is a very important opportunity for us to reflect on that particular element of the relationship, ” he said.
The gathering was also addressed by Vasan Srinivasan, Chairperson & Founding Trustee Australia Indian Community Charitable Trust (AICCT). Mr. Vasan welcomed the Prime Minister and thanked him for the support given for the Gandhi statue. Others who addressed those present included Indian Consul General Mr. Rajkumar and Alan Tudge MP, Member for Aston, Minister for Education and Youth. Others present included Jason Wood MP, Member for Latrobe, Assistant Minister for Customs, Community Safety and Multicultural Affairs and Hon Matthew Guy, Patron of Federation of Indian Associations in Victoria.
The Gandhi statue here is because of the Australian Indian Community Charitable Trust which runs the Australian Indian Community Centre, set up with a partial grant of $ 2.5 million by the Scott Morrison Federal Government in funding in addition to funding by the seven Trustees of the Australian Indian Community Charitable Trust and Victoria’s Daniel Andrews Government adding another $ 85,000.
Cultural program at the event.Video- YouTube SAT/NN
The statue was produced in India and transported to Australia with the support of the Indian government and the ICCR. The statue has been in the center for some time as its unveiling was postponed due to Covid-19 restrictions.
The statue is visible from the road and is placed in a green patch that is part of the center. On an earlier occasion, a plan was made to have a Gandhi statue adjacent to the former Indian Museum in Dandenong’s Little and in front of the Dandenong station but some vested interests opposed it and could not pass the stage of community consultation.
The Gandhi statue can be accessed at the Australian Indian Community Centre situated at 16-18 Kingsley Cl, Victoria 3178. Email- email@example.com