To commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhiji on October 2, 2019, the Vidyamandir Trust Palanpur (VMT) inaugurated a large, life-size statue of the Mahatma, the first ever to be built in the city of Palanpur. The unveiling was done by differently-abled children of MamtaMandir in presence of over 2,000 people.
A highlight of the unveiling ceremony was the musical presentation by the music teachers of Vidyamandir. Beginning with the Navkar Mantra, they also presented a selection of Gandhiji’s favourite bhajans, devotional hymns and other songs.
Speaking at the function, Ashishbhai Mehta, Managing Trustee of VMT said that Vidyamandir Trust believes that the ideas and teachings of the Mahatma are extremely relevant even today. He said the statue is being unveiled with the hope that Gandhi’s teachings especially of Truth and Ahimsa will continue to inspire future generations of the town.
The statue has been commissioned and donated by Ashishbhai K Mehta.
Ashishbhai recalled three connections that Gandhi had with Palanpur:
1. In 1937, on his way to Delhi by train, Gandhi addressed the waiting crowd at Palanpur station. He was joined on the train by Nawab Palanpur, who accompanied him up to Chitrasani.
2. Kasturba Gandhi and Mahadevbhai Desai had visited Palanpur to attend the wedding of Vadialalbhai Jhaveri and stayed in the same building that today houses the Museum at Taleybaug campus of Vidyamandir.
3. Gandhiji found his famous spinning wheel or charkha in Kanodar, near Palanpur. His son Manilalbhai had spent two months in Kanodar village learning the use of the charkha for spinning.
The inauguration of the statue is the second major activity taken up by the Vidyamandir Trust to honour the Father of the Nation, and create awareness about his teachings. In 2015-16, VMT also held the month long ‘Eternal Gandhi’ Multimedia Exhibition in the city in partnership with the Aditya Birla group, highlighting the life and thoughts of Gandhiji. Over 75,000 had attended this exhibition.
Eminent Gandhian Dr. Yogendra Parekh also spoke on the occasion, elaborating on the high principles and values followed by Gandhiji in a manner that young children could easily understand. He explained how the teachings of the Mahatma are so relevant today.
To mark the 150th birth anniversary of Gandhiji, Vidyamandir Trust launched two programmes:
1. ‘Be the change’- to make students more responsible and aware citizens to fulfil their civic responsibilities. The programme will be run across all schools run by the Trust.
2. To support the government’s call for giving up single use plastic. Vidyamandir will ban use of such plastic across all its campuses.
Rajeshbhai F Mehta of the trust explained both the initiatives.
Kanchanben Pandya, a teacher of VMT and recipient of the Presidential Award, who had brought honour to the institution at the national level and sculptor Ratilal Kansodariya, who had created the beautiful bronze statue of Gandhiji were also felicitated on the occasion.
The unveiling of the statue of Mahatma Gandhi was also broadcast live through the local Anjani cable TV as well as on Facebook and YouTube. The aim was to allow well-wishers and other from in and around Palanpur, as well as those who were living in other parts of the country or abroad to experience the occasion. This gave thousands of others the opportunity to witness a historic function.
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