A bust of Mahatma Gandhi, which was to be installed at the railway station in South Africa where the great Indian leader was thrown out of a train in 1893, is collecting dust in a basement.
The bust was donated to the Kwazulu-Natal provincial government four years ago by Indian spiritual leader Sri Satpal Maharaj.
It is yet to be installed at Pietermaritzburg railway station, about 80 km north of here.
It was intended to serve as a perpetual reminder of the day in May 1893 when 24-year-old lawyer Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was thrown of a train at Pietermaritzburg station because he was in a compartment designated ‘Whites Only’.
The incident changed the life of Gandhi who thereafter committed his life to fighting racial discrimination in South Africa and colonialism in India through the policy of ’satyagraha’ (passive resistance) and non-violence.
It has been reported that the bust is in a municipal storage area as a community organisation has not yet been able to finalise plans for its installation.
The chairman of the Gandhi Memorial Committee in Pietermaritzburg, David Gengan, confirmed that the bust was being stored at the City Hall because renovations were taking place at the railway station.
The bust, by Indian artist Manas Paul, was a joint donation from Maharaj and Amrita Rawat, the then Minister of Energy of Uttarakhand.