to the 2001 census, around 26 percent of
Leicester's population of 280,000 are of
Indian origin - a reason the city is sometimes
called Little India. An initial 'No Gandhi
Statue' online petition by residents has
grown into an electronic petition with 211
signatures on the Downing Street website
of the British prime minister - an e-governance
tool that does not necessarily have the
support of the prime minister.
resident Lee Ingram, who set up the first
petition, said he felt there were figures
with greater relevance to Leicester than
is a historical figure connected to India.
He has no connection to English culture
or the English, therefore a statue of him
would be more suitably erected in India.
This would be yet another symbol of segregation
in Leicester and it would be something else
for the Asian community.
have local heroes here, Lineker or the writer,
Gandhi has some powerful backers, including
Keith Vaz, Britain's longest serving Asian
MP who represents Leicester East, Sir Richard
Attenborough, who made an acclaimed film
on Gandhi, and local council leader Ross
statue (of Gandhi) will be an excellent
symbol of his and Leicester's commitment
to diversity," Vaz has said in an Early
Day Motion, the British parliament's own
form of petitioning the government.
added: "Gandhi was a person whose teachings
transcended any particular nation or faith.
I would be proud to see a statue in our
city that was a reminder to us all of his
philosophy of peace."
Parivar, the charity behind the plan to
build the 12-ft bronze statue at a cost
of between 15,000 and 20,000 pounds, says
there can be more than one statue in Leicester.
have never said that there should not be
any other statues in Leicester. This particular
statue of Gandhi will be entirely funded
by our charity as a gift to the city. It
will add to the vibrant and multicultural
elements of this city since Gandhi's philosophies
of truth, peace and non-violence had no