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Mahatma Gandhi memorial to be unveiled in Parliament Square

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Media captionKasia Madera went to Parliament Square to see the sculpture's new home

A statue of Mahatma Gandhi will be unveiled in Parliament Square next month.

It will be revealed on 14 March after donations to the Gandhi Statue Memorial Trust passed £1 million.

The sculpture is inspired by photographs of the civil rights leader outside 10 Downing Street in 1931.

Gandhi will be the first Indian, and the only person never to have been in public office, to be honoured with a statue in the square.

His memorial will stand alongside those of Abraham Lincoln and Nelson Mandela opposite the Houses of Parliament.

'An inspiration'

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Image caption October 1939: Mahatma Gandhi arrives in Delhi with members of his staff

This summer marks the 100th anniversary of Gandhi's return to India from South Africa to start the country's struggle for self-rule.

Gandhi had studied for a law degree in London before leading non-violent resistance to British rule in India. He was assassinated by a Hindu extremist in January 1948, months after India secured independence.

Chancellor George Osborne and Leader of the House of Commons William Hague announced the plans for the memorial in July 2014 during a visit to the site of Gandhi's assassination in New Delhi.

Funds for the statue by Philip Jackson, which depict Gandhi wearing a shawl and traditional dhoti skirt with his hands clasped, were raised by Lord Desai and the Gandhi Statue Memorial Trust.

Prime Minister David Cameron said: "Mahatma 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.

"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."

'If the cause is right'

Culture Secretary Sajid Javid said: "I would like to thank Lord Desai and the work of the Gandhi Statue Memorial Trust for raising the funds to make this happen.

"It is right that Gandhi's teachings and work are not forgotten and the statue will keep his legacy alive and inspire many young people to learn his incredible story."

Lord Desai, chairman of the Gandhi Statue Memorial Trust, said: "Generous donors have contributed sums from a pound up to hundreds of thousands of pounds from UK, India and around the world.

"On behalf of the Gandhi Statue Memorial Trust we thank all who made it possible for us to exceed our target of a million pounds within six months. As Gandhi said, 'If the cause is right the means will come.'"

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