Gandhi's 9-foot statue was unveiled jointly by British Prime Minister David Cameron and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley as chants of "Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram", a popular bhajan that was the Father of the nation's favourite, reverberated in the air.
    
A galaxy of political leaders were present at the event along with Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan and Gandhi's grandson Gopalkrishna Gandhi at the ceremony.


    
Gandhi is the first Indian and the only person never to have been in a public office to be honoured with a statue at the Square. The statue stands exactly opposite Britain's Houses of Parliament in the Palace of Westminster and adjacent to iconic leaders like anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela.
    
Gandhi's statue also has Britain's war-time Prime Minister Winston Churchill for company, an irony given the ex-premier's dismissive thoughts of someone he described as a "half naked fakir".

Photo: Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan makes a speech during the unveiling ceremony of a new statue of Mahatma Gandhi by British sculptor Philip Jackson in Parliament Square, London
    
The statue depicts the leader of the Indian national movement wrapped in a shawl to shield himself from the London cold during his last visit to the British capital in 1931.
    
"By putting Gandhi in this square, we are giving him an eternal home in our country. The man who turned the politically unimaginable into the politically inevitable, whose work in South Africa paved the way for Mandela. A man whose doctrine of Satyagraha became the inspiration for civil rights movement across the world," Cameron said.
    
"This inspirational man worked out who he was and what he stood for right here in Britain...If Gandhi could have lived anywhere in the world outside India, he said it would have been London. We should be proud of that. And we are proud of him," he said.
    
The Premier said the statue celebrates the "incredibly special" friendship between the world's oldest democracy and its largest.
    
Jaitley, invited to the UK especially for the unveiling, said the statue was a tribute to the British sense of civility that they now choose to honour someone who was conventionally regarded as their adversary.

"Mature nations transcend bitterness and acrimony. In Parliament Square there is also a statue of Sir Winston Churchill, arguably the man who opposed Gandhi most resolutely. Some would detect an irony in the great Prime Minister sharing a public space with the man he once decried as a 'half-naked fakir'," Jaitley said.

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