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Insufficent support for Gandhi statue in Dandenong

Insufficent support for Gandhi statue in Dandenong

03 August 2018

A proposal to install a statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Dandenong has failed to gain sufficient community support.

The Indian Cultural Precinct Taskforce requested a public survey to gauge the community’s view on statues in general and more specifically around a statue featuring Gandhi.

It followed a proposal by the Federation of Indian Origin Multi-Faith Organisation who not only proposed a statue of Gandhi but also a second statue featuring a 12th-century philosopher, statesman, poet and a social reformer.

The survey was conducted over a four-week period and received a very strong community response.

Greater Dandenong Mayor Councillor Youhorn Chea said Council was pleased to see such a high-level of community engagement on the subject.

“We consulted with the community on this issue and the community have told us that a statue would not be in the best interests of the precinct,” he said.

“Of the 963 responses received 65 per cent were not supportive of a Ghandi statue in Dandenong.”

“87 per cent of the respondents were from an Indian or Indian subcontinent background.”

The results of the survey were presented to the Indian Cultural Precinct Taskforce at its meeting last month. The Taskforce concluded there was not united support across the community for statues of Gandhi or other identities, and that statues would not be built in the Precinct at this time.

Internationally renowned Melbourne based artist Julian Clavijo was commissioned to create a temporary mural of Gandhi near the Indian Precinct in May. The Gandhi mural coincided with a digital exhibition at Melbourne’s Immigration Museum and provided a link between an exhibition of State significance and Melbourne’s first Indian Cultural Precinct.

Melbourne’s south-east region is home to more than 52,000 people of Indian origin. Approximately 12,400 first generation Indian residents currently call the City of Greater Dandenong home.

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