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The University of Southampton
The India Centre for Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development

Memorial tree for Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary

Published: 5 June 2019
Planting the tree
Professor Mark Spearing and H.E. Mrs Ruchi Ghanashyam planting the tree

The Indian High Commission to the UK, on behalf of the Ministry of External Affairs of the Government of India, has chosen the University of Southampton as a location to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi which falls in October 2019.

A celebratory event was held this morning (Wednesday 5 June 2019) at Highfield Campus.

This is a timely recognition for our collaboration following the successful launch of our India Centre for Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development during March 2019, reflecting our University’s commitment to building relationships and increasing engagement with India.

As part of the celebrations, a memorial tree was planted between the Life Sciences Building (85) and Hartley Library by Professor Mark Spearing, President and Vice-Chancellor (Interim), jointly with the Indian High Commissioner to the UK, H.E. Mrs Ruchi Ghanashyam, Hon’ble Professor Baron Lord Patel of Bradford and the Sheriff of Southampton, Councillor Susan Blatchford.

Her Excellency Mrs Ghanashyam said:

“I couldn’t be more delighted to be here today on this very historic occasion when we are marking the 150 years of Mahatma Gandhi, in the place where he first landed in England, and where so many of his views were formulated.

“On this world environment day, we acknowledge the contribution that Gandhi, as one of the world’s first environmentalists, made to the cause of a good clean environment that we are all trying to work for today.

“In this day and age Gandhi’s message for sustainable development, for a clean environment and for living within the means of human beings without taking too much from nature couldn’t be more relevant. In this 150th year of Gandhi and the 100th year of this University, I think this is a landmark occasion that we plant this tree today to always remind us of Mahatma Gandhi and his message.”

The group will also tour our Broadlands archive, viewing some of the correspondence between Gandhi and Louis, Earl of Mountbatten of Burma – the first Governor General of India, an internationally important research collection held at our University.

Professor Spearing said:

“It is a great pleasure to dedicate this tree to the memory of Mahatma Gandhi on the anniversary of 150 years since his birth. You cannot overstate the contribution that Gandhi has made to the world, he is without doubt one of the most significant figures of the 20th century. Without his contribution, India wouldn’t be the world’s largest democracy and one of the greatest powers in the world.

“I give enormous credit to Gandhi particularly for his approach to achieving his aims of an independent India through peaceful means, through non-violent means. In an increasingly fraught world, I think it would be really good for us all to remember that.”

Thanks to everyone that attended the ceremony this morning.

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