Turin (Italy), Apr 18: A grand bronze bust of Mahatma Gandhi, Father of the Nation, was unveiled today at Piazza Cavour, in the heart of the north Italian industrial city of Turin by India's Ambassador to Italy, Rajiv Dogra, and Giuseppe Castronovo, the President of Turin City Council.
The function was attended by a large gathering of people of Turin as also Parliamentarians, business, cultural and media personalities and scholars. Students and Faculty members of the leading educational institutions such as the International Institute for Advanced Asian Studies (CESMEO), the Department of Oriental Studies of the Turin University, Turin Polytechnic also attended the function.
The Piazza Cavour, earlier known as 'Giardino dei Ripari', is a historical square built in 1835. It stretches over a small hill and is surrounded by noble buildings such as the Biscaretti di Ruffia Palace, and museums of anthropology, ethnology and mineralogy.
The bust of Mahatma Gandhi was commissioned and gifted by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations. It was made by famous Indian Sculptor Gautam Pal for installation in Turin. Mr. Gautam Pal, having obtained his diploma in sculpture from the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera in Milan, enjoys a special relationship with Italy. Gandhiji's message continues to inspire people of Italy. More than 15 educational institutions are named after Gandhiji all over Italy. Programmes such as poetry competitions, functions, discussions have been held over last two years emphasizing the relevance of non-violence and peace in today's world. The leader of Radical Party and Minister for International Trade Ms. Emma Bonino was the Chief Guest at the Mahatma Gandhi Birth Anniversary Celebrations in Rome in 2006. Their Party has Mahatma's face on their flag.
European Parliament's draft Annual Report on Human Rights in the World 2007 considers Gandhian non-violence to be the most appropriate means of ensuring that fundamental human rights are enjoyed, upheld, promoted and respected. With a view to giving this idea a central political role, the draft, authored by Mr. Marco Cappato, an Italian Member of the European Parliament from the Radical Party, proposes that European Conference on Non-Violence be convened in 2009 and that 2010 be designated as the 'European Year of Non-Violence'. It also calls on the EU member states to endeavour within the United Nations set-up to ensure that the 'Decade of Non-Violence 2010-2020' is proclaimed.
Speaking on the occasion, Ambassador Rajiv Dogra said that the ideas and message of Gandhiji are universal. They continue to inspire young people around the world. Mahatma's actions and his teachings are an antidote to the brutality of violence. He said that it was heartening to note that the life of Mahatma Gandhi is followed with admiration in Italy.
In his address to the gathering, the President of the City Council Castronovo said that Mahatma Gandhi's message remains relevant today. He expressed happiness that the bust of the apostle of peace has been installed in Turin and hoped that the words and actions of Mahatma Gandhi would continue to provide inspiration and comfort to all people. Later during the day, the Ambassador and the Rector of Turin University inaugurated a photo exhibition titled "Gandhi: His Life and His Message" at the Rectorate of the University of Turin.
Built by the Emperor Augustus two thousand years ago as a camp for the Roman troops, the city of Turin had expanded to become the capital of Savoy State in 1559 and the first capital of the newly proclaimed United Italy in 1861. Today Turin occupies a prominent place in the world of design because of its rich tradition of research and innovation.
The city of Turin has been designated as the World Design Capital for 2008. Turin is the first city to get this distinction and will host later this year the World Design Capital Competition, a biennial international competition created to identify and recognise cities that have effectively used design from a social, cultural and economical point of view to revive the city. The 2006 Winter Olympic Games were held in Turin and the city is set to host the World Congress of Architecture this year. Torino is also best known as the home of Fiat, the Holy Shroud and the Juventus football team. Turin occupies a special place in the Indo-Italian bilateral relationship. Several economic and commercial initiatives such as FIAT-TATA joint ventures, Mahindra and Mahindra's acquisition of an Italian design studio Grafica Ricerca Design (GRD), collaboration between the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad and Pininfarina Spa, a well known design house and many more are centered around this city.