Narayana Murthy donates 200,000 pounds for UK Gandhi statue

Narayana MurthyLondon: Infosys co-founder Narayana Murthy and his family have donated 200,000 pounds towards the statue of Mahatma Gandhi planned for Parliament Square here, helping in meeting the budget target of 750,000 pounds for the project.

"Mahatma Gandhi was someone who demonstrated the tremendous power of leadership by example. His courage and commitment are an inspiration and I am delighted that his statue will stand in such a respected setting," said Murthy.

The donation by Murthy along with wife Sudha and children Akshata and Rohan Murthy has helped the Gandhi Statue Memorial Trust meet its 750,000 pounds budget target for the project.

The Gandhi Statue Memorial Trust, a charity set up by NRI economist Lord Meghnad Desai to raise funds for the sculpture, is now at the end of its fundraising journey and working towards the launch in the coming months.

"This donation once again shows the deep historic links between India and the UK, as well as the respect that Mahatma Gandhi commands and the importance of having his statue at Parliament Square," said Desai.

Meanwhile, the trust also announced two new patrons of the charity-- Countess Patricia Mountbatten and Lady Pamela Hicks -- in acknowledgement of their father's long association with Mahatma Gandhi.

Their father Lord Mountbatten, the last British Viceroy of India, oversaw the transfer of power in India in 1947.

Donations for the project have ranged from 1 pound to 200,000 pounds as people from all over the world pledged support for the iconic sculpture designed by renowned sculptor Philip Jackson, the trust said.

Bajaj Auto chairman Rahul Bajaj is among the Indian industrialists who have donated large sums towards the statue and NRI businessman Rami Ranger and Mahatma Gandhi's grandson Gopalkrishna Gandhi are among the trustees of the charity.

British Prime Minister David Cameron had recently justified the decision to install a statue of the Father of India alongside Britain's war-time PM Winston Churchill and South African leader Nelson Mandela.

"Lots of reasons for the Gandhi statue to be installed at the British Parliament. One is the importance of Gandhi to Indian history and the importance of Gandhi's teachings of non-violence and peaceful protests," Cameron had said, adding that the initiative would lead to Britain cementing its historical connection with India.

"A statue of Mahatma Gandhi standing alongside Churchill and Mandela at Parliament Square is highly appropriate and I am highly delighted that we have done this relatively quickly as sometimes the statues take a long time to be commissioned," he said.---PTI