The Gandhi Statue stands outside Wellington Railway Station and represents Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948), dressed in his characteristic loincloth and holding his staff. It is a life size sculpture made in bronze by the Indian sculptor, Gautam Pal (b. 1949). It was placed outside the Railway Station because Gandhi was a man of the people who liked to travel by train and public transport. The Indian Government presented the statue to Wellington and it was unveiled by the Mayor, Kerry Prendergast, on 2 October 2007. In his speech, the High Commissioner, K.P. Ernest, said: ‘On India’s part, the gifting of the statue is an expression of our deep appreciation and acknowledgment of the commitment of the people of New Zealand for setting an example to the world of a tolerant, open and inclusive society.’ The Mayor accepted the statue as representing ‘the fundamental human values that Mahatma Gandhi espoused and lived for.’ Mahatma Gandhi was a Hindu who led the Indian Independence movement in British-ruled India between 1915 and 1947 and is often referred to as ‘Father of the Nation’ in India. He was assassinated in the garden of the former Birla House on 30 January 1948, on his way to a prayer meeting. His death was mourned nationwide with more than 2 million people joining the 5-mile long funeral procession.
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