London: Boris Johnson, the maverick mayor of
London, on Tuesday said Mahatma Gandhi was wrong in stating in 1948
that India's future lay in its villages as the Conservative
party politician felt the country's future actually was in its
Speaking at the Conservative party conference in
Manchester, Johnson said 'massive urbanisation' was taking
place in India, as anyone who recently visited India had seen.
Johnson, whose wife's mother is of Indian origin, drew on
Gandhi to set out the work he was overseeing as the mayor of
London, from City Hall, the home of the Greater London
"There is one overarching philosophy behind everything we
do in City Hall that can be traced to a saying of Mahatma
Gandhi, who prophesied in 1948 that the future of India lay in
its 700,000 villages," he said.
"As anyone who has been to India can testify, Gandhi was
wrong. It is unromantic but true that the future of the world
lies in cities but he was right in this deeper sense that
people yearn for the memory of the village," said Johnson, a
former journalist who continues to write columns.
He said the "Eden from which we were all expelled and so
everything we do is about putting the village back into the
city. We are on target to build a record 50,000 affordable
homes over four years and we will do even more over the next
Johnson went on to detail several measures he was taking
as the London mayor, often drawing applause for his unique
perspective on issues.
First Published: Tuesday, October 04, 2011, 21:25