The President of the Regional Government, Miguel Albuquerque and India’s Ambassador to Portugal, Nandini Singla, today inaugurated a bust of Gandhi, in People’s Square, Funchal.
A ceremony in which the Indian political and spiritual leader passed through Funchal in 1906 as he traveled from London to South Africa.
Gandhi’s message of peace was remembered in the inaugural address.
Nandini Singla began by expressing satisfaction at being “in this paradise on earth”, the only place in Portugal where Mohandas Gandhi was and the fact that the bust was placed a few meters from Nelson Mandela’s memorial.
Interestingly it was while returning to South Africa – where he began working as a lawyer – that Gandhi passed through Funchal. He had gone to London to petition Winston Churchill, then Under Secretary of State for the Colonies, against the Balck Act, a law of racial segregation. At the stop of the ship in Madeira, he received the information that his request had been accepted. Unfortunately, as the ambassador recalled, “it was fake news,” but at that moment Gandhi “was very happy.”
‘Mahatma’ (Great Soul) was as described by the Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore, Nobel laureate in literature, and this was recalled by Miguel Albuquerque who acknowledged that it was ‘very difficult’ to describe Gandhi’s greatness. A politician, spiritual leader, nationalist, resilient but, above all, an uncompromising advocate of peace and nonviolence.