Singapore's historic Mahatma Gandhi Memorial, now housed in its restored building, was declared open by the City-State's President, S. R. Nathan, on Saturday. Hailing Gandhiji's “timeless” message, Mr. Nathan traced its “special significance” to this day.

He cited Gandhiji's policies of non-violence and passive resistance as also his “moralist” views about ends and means. His “vision of a country at peace amidst diversity” and his advocacy of communal harmony were still relevant to multicultural societies such as Singapore, said Mr. Nathan.

Memorial chairman Shriniwas Rai thanked the Indian government for donating the collected works of Gandhiji. The ceremony, marked by the use of a touch-smart device to announce the reopening of the Memorial and by cultural performances, was attended by several Singapore Ministers and Indian High Commissioner T. C. A. Raghavan.

The Memorial was first proposed at a meeting of the Women's Section of the Regional Indian Congress in Singapore just one day after Gandhiji was assassinated. Jawaharlal Nehru laid the foundation-stone on June 18, 1950, at the Memorial's present site in Singapore's Little India. The building was opened on April 25, 1953, by the then Commissioner General for United Kingdom in Southeast Asia, Malcolm MacDonald, who commended the “free, friendly, civilised way of international life in which Gandhi believed.”

Built on a World War II bomb-hit site, the Memorial, inclusive of a library, was in active use until the 1990s. Restoration work was undertaken in 2009 by the Hindi Society (Singapore).


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