Remarks by Mr Salman Khurshid Minister for External Affairs of India
Inauguration of Mahatma Gandhi Bust
30 January 2013, Antwerp
Your Excellency, Governor of Antwerp, Mrs. Cathy Berx,
Minister-President of Flanders region Mr Chris Peeters,
Ambassador of India Mr Dinkar Khullar,
Honorary Consul General of India Mr Marc Huybrechts,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am deeply honoured that on this day I have the privilege to dedicate to the people of Antwerp the Bust of Mahatma Gandhi. I would like to express my deep appreciation to the Hon'ble Governor who I am told has not only made available the premises of her office for this purpose but also taken personal interest in the installation of the Bust. Let me also express my deepest gratitude to all others who have worked and contributed to this effort.
Antwerp shares a special affinity with Gandhiji. It is home to a large Indian community, many of whom originally are from Gujarat, his birthplace. In fact, here at Antwerp, Gandhiji's concept of 'Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam' i.e. the whole world is one family is most pertinent. I understand that a bust of Mahatma was installed at the Albert Park in Antwerp in 2006 and was stolen in unfortunate circumstances in 2010. The fact that the city has very promptly replaced the old bust with a new one and decided to place it in the very heart of the city is a testimony to the deep love and respect among the denizens of this historic city for Mahatma Gandhi.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Although remembered for his struggle for India's independence and revered by we Indians as the "Father of the Nation", Mahatma Gandhi was a world citizen. His message of peace and of truth and non-violence are universal values that have inspired generations of leaders around the world. His ideas and principles remain relevant even today, particularly, as we continue to grapple with the threats of intolerance, violence, terrorism and wasteful consumption around the world.
The power of peaceful means to seek justice; the effectiveness of non-violence in countering force; respect for diversity within and between societies; fighting social prejudice and promoting social reforms; conservation of nature; probity in public life and simplicity in personal life are enduring ideas that can help address many ongoing problems in the contemporary world.
Today is the 65th death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. Let me conclude with one of my favourite quotes of the Mahatma. He once said, "You must be the change you wish to see in the world". He demonstrated the power of his message through his life and by his actions. I hope that the bust we have installed today will be a source of inspiration to all those who pass by to reflect on Gandhiji's message.