Houston: A marble edifice bearing a bronze engraving of Mahatma Gandhi has been unveiled in this US city as part of celebrations to mark India's 69th Independence Day.
The monument bearing a bronze engraving of Gandhi's face was unveiled at the entrance of so-called "Little India", an area off Hillcroft Avenue in the US state of Texas.
"This is a fitting monument," said Harish Parvathaneni, the counsel general of India based in Houston yesterday, as an orange velvet curtains adorned with strings of flowers fell away to reveal the art.
Many women in the crown wore brightly colored shalwar kameez, traditional South Asian garments, and waved mini Indian flags, while the men wore stoles with the country's colors around their necks.
The Mahatma Gandhi District, as Little India was formally named in 2011, serves as home to dozens of Indian restaurants, grocery stores, jewelry stores and other businesses, representing decades-long efforts of the thriving Indian community.
Getting the monument there, however, was not easy.
Local Indian community organisations and businesses raised USD 25,000 to construct the monument and worked closely with city officials, said Col Raj Bhalla, the former president of Houston's India Culture Center who helped lead fundraising efforts.
The first sketch that arrived in July didn't look much like Gandhi, so organisers had to redesign it. The finished monument did not arrive in Houston until August 12, four days before its scheduled installation.
Several public officials attended the unveiling, including US Rep Al Green, D-Houston, state Rep Gene Wu, D-Houston, and Houston City Council member Mike Laster, as well as council members from Sugar Land and Stafford.