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Remembering ‘Great Soul’

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By Monique Larkin

By Monique Larkin

He was a national symbol who led the struggle for India’s independence form British colonial rule.

He had millions of everyday Indians on his side.

He opposed any form of terrorism or violence.

He only used the highest of moral standards.

His philosophy of non-violence, which he called “Satyagraha”, has influenced many people nationally and internationally.

A bronze statue of Mahatma Gandhi will be placed in Riverside’s downtown mall at the beginning of December.

It will be dedicated to the city as a symbol of peace, tolerance and nonviolence.

The idea for the Gandhi peace memorial was suggested by Lalit Acharya, chairman of Board of Public Utilities of Riverside.John Sinclair is a construction worker for Tilden-Coil Inc.

Tilden-Coil is the company that is building the memorial around the sculpture, adjacent to the Mission Inn and on the corner of Magnolia Ave.

Sinclair is on the site at 6:30 a.m., and he leaves it at 3 p.m.

He says that he is a dedicated excavator.”It is going to send a message,” Sinclair said. “It is going to show the message that he was trying to bring. There should be more art pieces like it.”

At a meeting that was presided over by Riverside’s Mayor, Ron Loveridge June 7 he and other city council members voted unanimously to erect the memorial.

Several donations have been made in order to finance the bronze statue including Uka Solanki, CEO of Big Saver Foods who donated $75,000.

The statue will feature Gandhi and other peacemakers such as Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Teresa and Nelson Mandela, just to name a few.

The statue is being sculpted by one of India’s best-known artists, Mandan Garge.”I think it is going to be a beautiful art piece in Riverside,” Sinclair said.

Loveridge said that the monument sends a message to tourists that Riverside’s residents value justice and put tolerance first.

From the time Gandhi headed the suffrage movement in India and the Indian National Congress in 1918, he was loved, cherished and adored by his followers.

They referred to him, and still to this day refer to him as “Mahatma” or “Great Soul.”The sculpture that is to be dedicated in his name is just another way to honor him because he kept a strict principle of nonresistance.

“The people of Riverside are going to be struck in awe when they see this,” said Riverside resident Judy Hawkins. “Many people today should think less about be violent and more about truth.”

Gandhi often said that his standards were simple: truth and nonviolence.

Consequently, he was able to help bring on India’s independence from British rule.

“I have nothing new to teach the world,” Gandhi had once said. “Truth and nonviolence are as old as hills.”

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