On Friday 12 November 2021, Melbourne finally got a statue of India’s ‘father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi.

Melbourne has the largest Indian population when compared to other Australian cities.

Most major cities of the world, and many not-so-major ones, now have statues of Gandhi as a tribute to the Apostle of Peace, and also as a mark of friendly relations with India, and so Melbourne comes to the party quite late.

Australian PM Scott Morrison unveiled Melbourne’s first statue of Mahatma Gandhi. Brisbane, Canberra, Perth and Sydney already have a statute of Mahatma Gandhi.

India has donated the 426 Kg bronze statute in Melbourne.which originally was made in Rajasthan.

In 2018, The Federation of Indian Associations of Victoria (FIAV) ‘s proposal to set up a life-size bronze statue of Mahatma Gandhi outside the station at the south-eastern suburb of Dandenong had been bizarrely rejected by the local community of Melbourne.

The Greater Dandenong City Council had conducted a survey, and more than 50 per cent of the total 960 participants had said no to their plan of installing Gandhi’s statue.

FIAV did not give up and planned to install the Gandhi statue at the proposed Indian Community Centre site. So, finally, one of the world’s best cities to live in has got its own statue of the Indian leader credited with getting India Independence after 200 years of British rule, using non-violence as his weapon.

Scott Morrison said, “It is the second occasion where I’ve had the great honour to be able to unveil a statue of Mahatma Gandhi. Here, of course, today in Victoria, and some years ago when the President of India was in Australia, and I had the great honour to join him in unveiling the statue in Parramatta.”

“You know, Australians have a way of appropriating everybody’s parties. Now, you know that a community is just at one with Australia when we start to celebrate the same cultural festivals with even more gusto and vigour than some, some of the others,” said Mr Morrison.

“Between Australia and India, we do share very important beliefs and values in democracy and liberal democracy, in believing in the individual, their enterprise and their freedom, in particular. And to unveil a statue in honour of Mahatma Gandhi, this is a very important opportunity for us to reflect on that particular element of the relationship.”

Most major cities of the world, and many not-so-major ones, now have statues of Gandhi as a tribute to the Apostle of Peace, and also as a mark of friendly relations with India, and so Melbourne comes to the party quite late.

It is pertinent to mention that there are over 100 cities in the world where there is a Gandhi statue and Auckland still lags behind despite the best efforts of the High Commissioner of India supported by community organisations.