London: Indian-origin economist Meghnad Desai will go on a Gandhian-style hunger strike to help raise "awareness" around 1 million pounds required for erecting Mahatma Gandhi's statue at the Parliament Square here.
Lord Desai, 74, who has set up a registered charity called Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Trust for the fundraising drive, announced his decision just as official planning permission for the statue came through yesterday.
"Gandhiji went on a fast for so many good causes so it seems quite appropriate that I also go on hunger-strike to raise awareness for this good cause," Lord Desai told.
"The collections are going well but we have a long way to go before we reach the finishing line of an early 2015 launch. It will be a proud moment for all Indians and the followers of the Mahatma, all over the world," he added.
All statues at Parliament Square in London, which currently include Britain's war-time Prime Minister Winston Churchill and South African anti-apartheid campaigner Nelson Mandela, have been set up through public donations.
The Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Trust has reportedly raised around 100,000 pounds out of rough total of 1 million pounds required.
Westminster City Council granted planning permission for the sculpture commemorating the father of the Indian nation this week, marking the official go-ahead for the plans announced by Britain's Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and UK Cabinet ministers William Hague and George Osborne during recent visits to India.
The bronze sculpture will be created by Philip Jackson and will show Gandhi wearing a shawl and traditional dhoti skirt.
Inspired by photographs of Gandhi on the steps of 10 Downing Street during a visit to London in 1931, the statue portrays him as "a thoughtful, determined, compassionate man", according to the documents submitted to the council in support of the application.
"There is no doubting that Gandhi is a world-renowned figure that should stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the likes of Nelson Mandela and Abraham Lincoln, who also both fought for civil liberties," said Richard Beddoe, Westminster City Council's deputy cabinet member for the built environment.
"Parliament Square has a long history of peaceful protest and democracy in action. As such, it is a more than suitable location for a statue to Mahatma Gandhi, and we are also pleased to see one of the best international sculptors in Philip Jackson on board to help deliver this project," he said.