Jakarta: In a unique gesture, a statue of Mahatma Gandhi made by Indonesian artist Bambang Winaryo was unveiled on Tuesday at the House of Culture in West Sumatra province, which is associated with the House of Poetry dedicated to famous Indonesian poet Taufiq Ismail.
The statue was inaugurated by the Ambassador of India to Indonesia Gurjit Singh and Deputy Speaker of the house of representatives of Indonesia Fadli Zon, an official release said. Governor of West Sumatra Irwan Prayitno was also present on the occasion along with a large number of dignitaries.
The installation of the statute was an important part of 'Sahabat India: The Festival of India in Indonesia'.
The statue of Mahatma faces Mount Marapi, one of the three volcanoes around that area of Padang Panjang in West Sumatra.
The statue is an inspiration of Zon, who has a passion for art and culture and a cultural promotion in his area of West Sumatra, the release said.
The deputy speaker has opened a museum of eminent poet Taufiq Ismail and a House of Culture which has his collection of art, books and keris.
A special friendship programme with India was held after the inauguration of the Mahatma Gandhi statue and was attended by a large number of dignitaries of West Sumatra.
The ambassador of India spoke on the occasion about the long friendship between India and Indonesia and the ideals of Mahatma Gandhi which he said were valid even today.
The ambassador highlighted various initiatives undertaken by India like the International Yoga Day, Swachh Bharat campaign, Make in India campaign and Digital India.
A visiting Bhangra group performed folk dance on the occasion. Earlier in the day, the group performed at the Bung Hatta University and Andalas University. The ambassador of India gave key note address in both the universities and a question answer session followed.
People of Indian origin who have been living in West Sumatra for generations have organised themselves into an association, Himpunan Kelurga Mohamedan, and the ambassador was welcomed to this community. They expressed their desire to engage with India.