Britain is asking Indian school children what Mahatma Gandhi’s message would be to modern India.
In order to coincide with the unveiling of Gandhi’s bronze statue at Britain’s Parliament Square in London on March 14, British Council in association with the British High Commission in New Delhi has asked students of classes 9-12 in Indian schools to submit a 30-second video message on the theme “What message would Gandhiji give to our country if he was alive today?”.
Shortlisted selected submissions will get showcased in the UK during the statue unveiling ceremony.
The statue is ready and is being created by leading British sculptor Philip Jackson, renowned for statues of the Queen Mother.
The statue will stand alongside those of other international leaders such as Nelson Mandela and Abraham Lincoln.
British prime minister David Cameron said Gandhi was the inspiration for the non-violent civil rights movement and will be the focal point for the commemoration this summer of the 100th anniversary of Gandhi’s return to India from South Africa to start the struggle for self-rule.
India’s finance minister Arun Jaitley is expected to be in UK for the unveiling.
Gandhi Statue Memorial Trust has successfully raised £1 million through donations for memorial.
Cameron said “Gandhi is an inspiration. His approach of non-violence will resonate forever as a positive legacy – not just for the UK and India, but the world over. He was a man of great insight and many of his observations remain as fresh and relevant today as when he first made them – that we should be the change we wish to see in the world is timeless advice, well worth following”.
Cameron said “The statue in Parliament Square not only marks his huge importance in the history of both our countries, but will enrich the firm bond of friendship between the world’s oldest democracy and its largest”.
He added “Our ties with India have remained close throughout history and continue to go from strength to strength – through mutual respect as equals, through cooperation, trade, and of course through the one-and-a-half million Indian diaspora living in Britain today who bring our two nations closer, to the benefit of both.”
UK said it is inviting schools to participate in various online competitions around Gandhi.
It said “There are four categories and schools which can submit entries in either one or all the categories. Any number of students can participate from the school. Students of classes 1-5 are invited to submit paintings on the theme “Life of Mahatma Gandhi”. Students of classes 6-8 are invited to submit collage on the theme “Indian Independence and Mahatma Gandhi”.