Mahatma Gandhi statue was unveiled at the Voice of Vedas grounds by the Honourable David Peterson, Premier of Ontario, on May 15, 1988. Mr. V.P.Singh, Consul General of India, dignitaries from the Federal, Provincial and Municipal governments, heads of inter faith religious leaders and about 10,000 people witnessed this historic event.
The idea of installing a monument to Mahatma Gandhi was conceived about two years earlier. The project was sponsored by the Toronto Organization for the Promotion of the Indian Culture Inc., (TOPIC), a group formed in 1982, to boost the East Indian heritage in Canada. Dr. Budhendra Doobay, the Chair of the organization provided his dynamic leadership and tireless efforts towards the project. Ben Sennik, ably assisted by many an unsung heroes, performed the tasks of the Project Coordinator. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was educated as a lawyer in Britain. He returned to India in 1893. At the age of 23, he travelled to South Africa, to represent a client. Arriving in Durban, he bought a first class train ticket to Pretoria, where the case was to be tried. But because he was an Indian of dark complexion, a white South African conductor ordered him out of the first class compartment.
Gandhi found himself in a strange country where human dignity was in peril. He was swayed with the idea of returning back to India, but decided to stay and conduct his profession with a strong will to effectively change the inhuman conditions. He lived in South Africa from 1893 to 1941, championing the cause for the abolition of the injustices and inequalities. He emerged as a brilliant political activist, having successfully embattled the oppressive regime in brining the changes. On his return to India, he put his talents into the movement for the struggle to free India from the British Raj. He preached and practiced SATYAGRAGA or Non-violence, leading an exemplary life of discipline, renunciation and simplicity. The common people of India endearingly gave him the title “Mahatma”-“The Great Soul”. He was assassinated on January 30, 1948, at the age of 79..
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was one of the towering figures of the 20th century, and revered the world over. His name was synonymous with a way of life that has altered the course of history – a name that continues to inspire millions to this day. The nine foot high bronze statue was made in New Dehli, India, under the personal supervision of Brigadier (Dr) Kapil Mohan, VSM (Retd)., Ph.D., Managing Director of Mohan Meakins Limited, at one of their metal foundries. The statue is perhaps one of the master pieces ever produced in bronze at their works..
The entire cost of approximately $ 300,000.00, for the making and installation of the statue was donated by Mr. Desraj Sennik and Family. The inscription on the statue reads:
|“Mr. Desraj Sennik & Family As a tribute to CANADA for the respect, dignity and honour enshowered upon the people from different lands, who have made their homes here.”
The statue was air freighted by Air India from New Delhi to Toronto. The Government of India agreed to pay the entire cost for the transportation. The Government of Ontario agreed to lease the prime piece of land on which the statue stands today, at a nominal yearly rental. Topic shall ever be indebted for that generous and timely help. Dr. Doobay at the inauguration ceremony announced that the parkette around the statue shall be named as the “PEACE PARK”, where throng of visitors over the years has come to pay their homage to the “Mahatma”.