New Delhi, Oct 29 | Hours after he landed in Rome on Friday morning, Prime Minister Narendra Modi headed to the famous Piazza Gandhi in the EUR district of the Italian capital to pay his tributes at the bronze bust of Mahatma Gandhi.
This is not the first time that Modi offered tributes to the Mahatma on the foreign soil. His foreign trips since 2014, when he became the Prime Minister, have been marked with such visits.
In September 2014, when he visited the US, he offered floral tributes to the Mahatma in Washington DC. The same year, when he travelled to Australia in November, he unveiled a statue of Gandhi at Brisbane. In a short speech on the occasion, Modi had said: “On October 2, 1869, it was not just a person who was born in Porbandar a but an era was born.”
In March 2015, during his Mauritius tour, he paid floral tributes to Bapu while in April 2015, he had unveiled a bust of Gandhi in Germany’s Hannover. In July, the same year, he unveiled a statue of Bapu in Bagtyarlyk Sports Complex in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan and in the same month, unveiled a statue of Bapu at Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
In November 2015, during his visit to the UK, PM Modi was accompanied by his then UK counterpart David Cameron to pay rich tributes to Bapu’s statue, right outside the House of Parliament.
Modi, during his visit to South Africa – where Gandhi had spent several years before returning to India – in July 2016, visited the places associated with him. He paid rich tributes to Bapu at Johannesburg as well as Sarvodaya in Phoenix Settlement, which was his residence.
In fact, the Prime Minister had also retraced Gandhi’s train journey in South Africa. He boarded a train from Pentrich Railway Station in Durban to Pietermaritzburg, recalling the 1893 incident when Gandhi was thrown out of the train compartment on account of his skin colour.
During his Kenya visit in July 2016, Modi visited the University of Nairobi, where he recalled Mahatma’s teachings and paid tributes. Next year, in July 2017, he and the Portuguese PM Antonio Costa, paid homage to Mahatma Gandhi in Lisbon.
In February 2019, PM Modi and South Korean President Moon Jae-in unveiled a bust of Gandhi at the Yonsei University in Seoul. Modi had then said that Bapu’s thoughts and ideals have the power to help them overcome the menace of terrorism and climate change – two challenges humanity faces in these times.
Modi has always emphasised the Gandhian values as integral part of Indian lives, often quoting the Mahatma’s teachings in his speeches, be it in India or on a foreign tour or even at the United Nations.
The Prime Minister is on a three-day trip to Rome for attending the G20 Summit after which he will be attending the High-Level Segment at the UN Climate Change Summit at the UK’s Glasgow.