MANILA - Indian President Ram Nath Kovind unveiled the first bust in the Philippines of Indian peace icon and Father of the Indian Nation Mahatma Gandhi on Sunday.
Kovind was at the Miriam College in Quezon City for the event.
The bronze bust commemorates the 150th birth anniversary of Gandhi, which coincides with the celebration of the 70th year of Philippine-Indian diplomatic relations.
“I am delighted to visit the Philippines. Our ties with your country are not just special, but one that we keep close to our hearts,” Kovind said in his speech.
“Mahatma Gandhi believed in the power of peace and non-violence. I deeply appreciate this opportunity to celebrate the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi... This bust of Mahatma Gandhi is a gift of the people of India to me. But the bust is for all people and all cultures.”
The Philippines now joins Switzerland, South Korea, Australia, Croatia and Bulgaria among other countries in hosting a symbolic image of Gandhi to serve as an inspiration for peace and non-violence.
The bronze bust was designed by renowned Indian sculptor Ram Vanji Sutar and was flown from India especially for the occasion.
Witnessing the unveiling were India’s First Lady Savita Kovind, members of the Indian diplomatic corps, Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte, Miriam College Board of Trustees chair Josefina Tan and vice chair Edith Alcantara, and incoming Miriam College president Ambassador Laura del Rosario.
For the Miriam College community, the teachings and life of Gandhi will always be relevant.
“The bust of Mahatma Gandhi unveiled today is sitting in a lotus position... a position of equilibrium and peace,” Del Rosario said.
“As we pass by the bust of Mahatma Gandhi everyday, may we be reminded to seek of truthful ways,” she added.
Kovind’s last engagement on his last full day in Metro Manila is a meeting with members of the Indian community-based in the Philippines.
Kovind, who arrived in Manila on Thursday, is the third Indian president to undertake a state visit to the Philippines since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1949.