London: A statue of Mahatma Gandhi, estimated to cost around 1 million pounds and slated to be unveiled at Parliament Square here early next year, is nearing completion, the charity leading the campaign has confirmed.
The Gandhi Statue Memorial Trust released first-look images of the full-sized?clay sculpture that will be used to cast the statue in bronze here today.
"Gandhi is admired by people across the globe who are contributing small and large amounts to be part of this historic monument. I appeal to all who admire Gandhi to join me in this iconic enterprise by giving what they can for the Gandhi statue. Our website is www.Gandhistatue.Org," said NRI economist Lord Meghnad Desai, founder of the charity.
The statue has been created by award-winning sculptor Philip Jackson, who says he chose the image of Mahatma Gandhi standing outside Downing Street in 1931, as he thought that would be most appropriate for Parliament Square.
It depicts the Mahatma without a stick, draped in a heavy shawl against the British cold, but bare legged and contemplative.
Jackson says he went through a number of photographs and then made an "an amalgam of them to create a timeless image".
The unveiling in early 2015 is expected to coincide with the 100th anniversary of Gandhi's return to India from South Africa.
As statues in Britain are traditionally funded through public support, the memorial trust has been inviting donations from Gandhi admirers around the world.
Sajid Javid, UK secretary of state for culture, media and sport and chair of the Gandhi Statue Special Advisory Panel, said, "I'm delighted planning permission has been given for this wonderful monument to the father of the world's largest democracy. Britain has a proud history of great figures being honoured with statues paid for by public subscription".
After viewing the clay sculpture along with other members of the advisory council including Desai and Lord Navnit Dholakia, Indian High Commissioner, Ranjan Mathai said, "We are really looking forward to having the sculpture of Mahatma Gandhiji in Parliament Square".