One of the earliest statues of Mahatma Gandhi in the State got renewed attention at Shoranur as the nation celebrated Gandhi Jayanti on Sunday. The people of Shoranur not only paid homage to the Mahatma on his 153 rd birthday but also reminisced the historical significance of a Gandhi bust poised on a pedestal in the courtyard of KVR High School, Shoranur.
Erected in less than five months after the Mahatma’s assassination, the Gandhi statue at Shoranur has been growing in significance as a reminder for the new generation about his contributions in securing the country’s freedom. “These days we often see little children gawking curiously at this historic Gandhi statue, because for them Gandhi means something different from what the Mahatma encapsulated for earlier generations,” said Prasad K., former student and founder of the Gandhi Seva Vedi.
For the new generation exposed to Gandhi photos printed on the currency notes and other harmless posters, the Gandhi statue on Shoranur’s school campus effuses a different feeling. “It helps generate a sense of historical belongingness that our children are beginning to miss,” said Mr. Prasad.
Unveiled by independent India’s first Foreign Secretary K.P.S. Menon on June 21, 1948, less than five months after Gandhi was shot dead by Nathuram Godse, the statue at KVR High School has seen many socio-political tides. Many political heavyweights, including Rajendra Prasad, C. Rajgopalachari, Indira Gandhi and K. Kelappan, have paid floral tributes to the statue.
Opened in 1931 as Shoranur High School, the institution set up by educationalist K.V. Raman Nair has witnessed the visit of many a socio-political figure over the years. Mahatma Gandhi had visited Shoranur in 1927 and 1934. His second Shoranur speech had taken place on the school campus.
Shoranur High School was renamed KVR High School in 2000 in honour of its founder, who had got the National Teacher Award from President Rajendra Prasad in 1960. It was the then Kerala Governor Jothi Venkitachalam who inaugurated the school’s golden jubilee celebrations in 1981. And the diamond jubilee celebrations were inaugurated by former High Court judge Chettoor Sankaran Nair.
It was this historicity of this campus that made the authorities to erect Shoranur’s first Gandhi statue at KVR High School soon after the death of the Mahatma.
And the inscription on the pedestal continues to tell the people Gandhi’s famous words: “I shall work for an India in which the poorest shall feel that it is their country, in whose making they have an effective voice, an India in which there shall be no high class and low class of people, an India in which all communities shall live in perfect harmony. This is the India of my dreams.”