President Ram Nath Kovind inaugurated a bronze bust of Mahatma Gandhi in Villeneuve in Switzerland today. The bust was unveiled to mark the visit of Mahatma to Villeneuve in 1931. The inauguration also coincides with 150th birth anniversary of the Father of the nation.
The statue in Villeneuve sculpted by Ram Vanaji Sutar on the shores of Lake Geneva, was a gift from the Government of India and commissioned by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations. However, the plinth which forms the base of the statue was procured from the Arvel quarry nearby. Gandhi’s head faces the direction of the house where he stayed during his Swiss visit.
After unveiling the statue, the President said Mahatma Gandhi’s ideology of ahimsa, peace and living in harmony with nature is relevant even today. He thanked the Mayor of Villeneuve for acknowledging the visit of Mahatma to their town.
Gandhi, who led the non-violent freedom struggle against British colonial rule, spent five days in Switzerland (December 6-11, 1931) at the home of his friend, Nobel-prize-winning French writer Romain Rolland. It was the first and only time the Indian leader stepped foot in the country.
President Kovind is on an official state visit to Switzerland from September 11-15. Three agreements were signed between the two countries during his visit concerning technical cooperation on climate change, a science and technology alliance and the renewal of the Hindi chair and University of Lausanne.