London: An Indian-origin entrepreneur and social activist has taken the lead by donating the biggest sum of money yet for the proposed statue of Mahatma Gandhi at the Parliament Square in London.
Rami Ranger, director of Sun Mark Limited, has contributed 100,000 pounds to the Gandhi Statue Memorial Trust, which is coordinating the public fundraising process for the sculpture expected to be inaugurated here by early next year.
"The world owes Gandhiji a huge debt of gratitude for liberating one fifth of mankind through non-violence thereby creating a better world," said Ranger, whose business interests range from shipping to beverage manufacturing to property development.
The trust said other donors from around the world are also stepping forward to contribute towards the iconic statue, taking it closer to its aim of raising around 750,000 pounds.
"There are pledges of large amounts due to be realised in the next month while smaller donations continue to flow into the website with its online donation facilities," the trust said in a statement.
"This is more good news which adds to the steady flow of donations which have been coming in from all around the world through our website as awareness spreads," added Lord Meghnad Desai, the chair of the Gandhi Statue Memorial Trust.
"It is the combination of lots of small donations and a few large ones which is taking us swiftly to our final goal. But, of course, we still welcome all those who would like to donate. As Gandhiji said: 'If the cause is right, the means will come,'" he added.
The bronze statue, created by sculptor Philip Jackson based on Gandhi's last visit to London in 1931, will be the last one to be placed on Parliament Square. Britain's war-time Prime Minister Winston Churchill and South African anti-apartheid campaigner Nelson Mandela is already placed on the square.
The statue depicts Gandhi without a stick, draped in a heavy shawl, but bare legged and contemplative. It is being created on the lost wax process, which dates back to the Graeco-Roman times and follows the same procedure as that of the famous Renaissance sculpture of David created by Donatello.