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With Gandhi & Churchill sharing the same ground, can they finally become friends?

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Gandhi statue

By Harshmeet Singh

One of the biggest news of this week was the unveiling of Mahatma Gandhi’s statue in Britain’s famous Parliament square. The 9 foot tall bronze statue is ironically dedicated to the group of people he stood against – the loyal servants of the British Empire. Funded by the Gandhi Statue Memorial Trust which was founded by Meghnad Desai, the statue was given shape by the famous British sculptor Philip Jacksonn.

When the British PM David Cameroon was unveiling his statue in the presence of Arun Jaitley, Amitabh Bachchan and Gopalkrishna Gandhi (Gandhi’s grandson), Bapu was being gazed at by his old nemesis, Winston Churchill.

Unveiled on the occasion of completion of 100 years of Gandhi’s return to India from South Africa, the magnificent statue would be in an esteemed company of Sir Robert Peel, Nelson Mandela, Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill and a number of other former British PMs.

Gandhi & Churchill

It is hard to imagine the installation of Gandhi’s statue going too well with Churchill, considering that the latter was a staunch opponent of everything Gandhi stood for.  In 1931, Britain invited Gandhi to hold peace talks. Gandhi saw no reason to change his attire before attending the important meeting with the Viceroy.  Not impressed with Lord Irwin’s decisions to carry on negotiations with Gandhi to ensure a political truce in India in 1931, Churchill remarked “It is alarming and also nauseating to see Mr. Gandhi, an Inner Temple lawyer, now become a seditious fakir of a type well known in the East, striding half-naked up the steps of the Viceregal Palace, while he is still organizing and conducting a defiant campaign of civil disobedience, to parley on equal terms with the representative of the King-Emperor. I am against these conver­sations and agreements between Lord Irwin and Mr. Gandhi. . . The truth is that Gandhi-ism and all it stands for will have to be grappled with and finally crushed.”

True to his image of remaining calm, Gandhi sent a letter to Churchill with the following words –

“Dear Prime Minister,

You are reported to have a desire to crush the simple ‘Naked Fakir’ as you are said to have described me. I have been long trying to be a ‘Fakir’ and that naked — a more difficult task. I, therefore, regard the expression as a compliment though unintended. I approach you then as such and ask you to trust and use me for the sake of your people and mine and through them those of the world.

Your sincere friend,

K. Gandhi”

Despite Churchill’s evident animosity towards him, Gandhi wanted to meet him when he was in London for the second round table conference, a request which Churchill refused. Churchill’s imperialistic approach was never in line with Gandhi’s democratic values. Churchill was ever so against the labour party’s decision to grant independence to India. The massive bloodshed during the partition gave him a reason to remind everyone of his views, saying “The fearful massacres which are occurring in India are no surprise to me.”

Never the one to hide his likes and dislikes, Churchill was all praise for Jawaharlal Nehru and called him “Here is a man who has conquered both hate and fear. A smartly dressed diplomatic Nehru was always going to be more pleasing to the eyes of Churchill. After the death of Mahatma Gandhi, condolences poured in from all across the world, excluding Churchill. Although he had gone a bit softer on Gandhi after he was ousted from the post of British Prime Minister, he could never like Gandhi enough.

Gandhi’s statue at the Parliament Square has intentionally been made slightly smaller in height than most of the statues already present in the area, indicating his will to be considered a common man. With Gandhi and Churchill sharing the same home now, let’s hope they finally become friends!

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Copyright 2015 NewsGram

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Megastar Amitabh Bachchan Talks About The Unity of a Nation

"We must define ourselves not by what we are against but by what we are for and what we can be for if we are there for each other," Big B added

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Amitabh Bachchan
If a nation isn't united, it shouldn't be called nation: Amitabh Bachchan.

Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan says a nation that isnt united, shouldnt be called a nation.

Amitabh spoke at the iconic Gateway of India here on the 10th anniversary of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, as part of the third edition of ’26/11 Stories of Strength’ by Indian Express. He was joined by veteran writer Javed Akthar.

Talking about the power of oneness and unity, Amitabh Bachchan said: “On this same place last year, we pledged that we would never give shelter to terror and today we want our dream to be realised to reawaken to the power of love and oneness. We should be united to give fearless life for our future generation.

“Today, people who have a destructive mindset are knocking our doors, but we can’t fight them with similar mentalities. We can tackle it with oneness and it is the need of the hour. They don’t fear with our weapons or with our strength but they will feel fearful when we will stand together against them. They want us to get divided in terms of our religion, language, state and tradition so, we should keep that in mind that till the time we will be divided, they will try to harm us.”

Big B said a united nation is a way of building a nation.

“Being united is not a social option but it’s a way of building a nation. I think being united is a proof of being a nation and if a nation isn’t united, then I am sorry to say that it shouldn’t be called as a nation. We have to create an environment for our future generations where destructive minds would not be able harm us.”

Touching upon the evils of terrorism, Big B said: “Terrorism is not just about holding the power to kill us but it is designed to destroy the integrity of our oneness. It is a desire to make children become slaves. It is kind of collective selfishness which divides humanity into parts and portions for eventual consumption which means the oneness is not able to work on its main purpose which are development and growth.”

Amitabh Bachchan
Amitabh Bachchan. Pixabay

The actor said India’s singularity is too strong to be broken by cowards.

“We have drawn lines, continents and nations on this planet but our planet is one. We have drafted lots of faith and beliefs but human kind is one and humanity is one. Our oneness, unity and singularity is not limited to fighting with terror and anti-social ideologies. Our singularity is too vast to be shaken by limited horizons. Our solidarity is too strong to be broken by cowards.

“We must define ourselves not by what we are against but by what we are for and what we can be for if we are there for each other,” Big B added.

Recounting the aftermath of the horrific night when terror struck Mumbai, Akthar said: “I clearly remember that evening just after few days of that horrific and barbarian terrorist attacks, people of Mumbai had gathered here in front of Gateway of India. At that time, we were furious, outraged and angry but at the same time, we were together and united.

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“This is what Mumbai is. We are known as a commercial capital of India and I suppose commercial is not supposed to have heart, but whenever such kind of calamity has hit the city — whether it’s a terrorist attack, flood or any other calamity, Mumbai and Mumbaikars have shown that this city has had its heart at the right place.”

Akhtar also recited his poem “Mumbai ko Salaam” to pay tribute to people who have lost their lives in the 26/11 Mumbai terrorist attack.

Also present at the event were Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and singer Javed Ali among others. (IANS)