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Modi visits three symbols of peace, equality, unity

By Ians

Washington, Sep 30: Prime Minister Narendra Modi headed to his bilateral summit with President Barack Obama Tuesday after paying homage at three memorials symbolising peace, equality and unity dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and Abraham Lincoln.

Modi, wearing a light orange kurta and a white Nehru jacket, paid floral tributes at the statue of Mahatama Gandhi, apostle of non-violence and father of the Indian nation, in front of the Indian embassy in Washington.

A large number of Indian-Americans chanted "Modi, Modi" as he arrived at the memorial with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh.

Cast in bronze, the eight feet and eight inches tall statue designed by Gautam Pal shows Gandhi in stride, as a leader and man of action, evoking memories of his 1930 protest march against salt-tax, and the many other padyatras (long marches) he undertook during the freedom struggle.

Atal Bihari Vajpayee, then prime minister of India, dedicated the Gandhi Memorial in the presence of then President Bill Clinton Sep 16, 2000, during a state visit to the US.

Earlier, Modi also visited the memorials to American civil rights leader King, whose struggle for the blacks was inspired by Mahatma Gandhi, and Lincoln, the 16th US president who issued an emancipation declaration to free slaves and led a civil war to save the American Union.

King's memorial was dedicated Aug 28, 2011, the 48th anniversary of his groundbreaking March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and his "I Have a Dream" speech, delivered from the nearby Lincoln Memorial.

Designed by Lei Yixin, the 30-foot high white granite Stone of Hope statue detached from the Mountain of Despair reflects the victory borne from disappointment.

The 98-foot high Lincoln Memorial, designed by Henry Bacon on the National Mall, is a favourite haunt of US President Barack Obama, who is an admirer of all three icons: Gandhi, King and Lincoln.


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