A bust of Mahatma Gandhi was unveiled in Zagreb on Wednesday, on the 150th anniversary of his birth, by Indian Ambassador Arindam Bagchi, Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, and Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandic.
The bust, made by awarded Indian sculptor Ram Vanaji Sutar, and its pedestal are a gift from the Indian Embassy in Croatia, which also financed the erection of the monument.
Ambassador Bagchi said it was appropriate that the inscription under the bust, Gandhi's first in Croatia, should be the message "There is no path to peace, peace is the path".
We hope the unveiling of this bust will enable the new generation of Croatia's inhabitants to learn something about the lasting message which Gandhi sent the world and which is equally important today. We also hope this bust will become an important and interesting place to the people of Zagreb as well as tourists, he said.
Bagchi thanked Plenkovic and Bandic for attending, saying it symbolised Croatia's love and affection for Gandhi.
He recalled that Indian President Ram Nath Kovind, visiting Croatia this past March, announced that he would gift a bust of Gandhi. He said he was very pleased that the president's promise could be kept so soon by finding an eternal home for Gandhi in Zagreb's beautiful Bundek park.
Plenkovic said he was very pleased to be at the unveiling of a bust of the great Mahatma Gandhi in Croatia's capital on the 150th anniversary of his birth.
He said the UN declared Gandhi's birthday the International Day of Non-Violence and that Gandhi distributed his message of non-violence and peaceful resistance for eternity and for the whole world as a universal message stemming from his authority and role as politician and great statesman.
Plenkovic cited two of Gandhi's quotes. "The first is that force is the weapon of the weak and non-violence the weapon of the strong, and the other is that the only way to live is to let others live."
"This message of tolerance and peace will stay with us also thanks to this bust in Zagreb, a message as a symbol of the friendship between Croatia and India, and we as the government are grateful to President Kovind, who was the first Indian president to officially visit Croatia this spring, for this gift," Plenkovic said.
Mayor Bandic wished for the Gandhi monument to bring out in the people of Zagreb more love, wisdom, reason, openness and feeling for true values. He especially greeted the ambassadors of the US and Russia, Robert Kohorst and Anvar Azimov, who attended today's unveiling.