A memorial tree planted to commemorate 150 years since the birth of Mahatma Gandhi

On the morning of Wednesday 5th June, Southampton University welcomed the Indian High Commissioner, H.E Ruchi Ghanayshyam, Lord Patel of Bradford and Councillor Susan Blatchford, Sheriff of Southampton for an impactful ceremony.

With the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi in 1948, his legacy lives when we speak of gaining India’s independence as well as creating inspirational movements for freedom across the world. Gandhi’s influential stories are told to many generations as this Indian activist changed the views and mind of many people and continues to do so through publications, stories and documentaries.

In honour of this historical legend and to mark Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th anniversary, a celebratory event commenced at Southampton university planting a memorial tree to also acknowledge World Environmental Day. Since March 2019, the university has increased awareness towards building its relationships with India.

The successful launch of their India Centre for Inclusive Growth and Sustainability Development gave the Indian High Commission to the UK a reason to believe that this was the ideal location for the ceremony welcoming many respected members to the event. Attendees who were also seen participating during this significant moment were Managing Director of Here and Now 365, Manish Tiwari and Founder and CEO of India Business Group, Amarjit Singh.

During the event, H.E Ruchi Ghanayshyam said: “On this World Environment Day, we acknowledge the contribution that Gandhi, as one of the world’s first environmentalists, made to the cause of a good clean environment that we are all trying to work for today.” Professor Mark Spearing, President and Vice-Chancellor added to this sharing: “Without his (Gandhi) contribution, Indian wouldn’t be the world’s democracy and greatest powers in the world. I give enormous credit to Gandhi particularly for his approach to achieving his aims of an independent India through peaceful means.”

It was the perfect start to world environmental day with the welcoming of honourable members in a multicultural and diverse university educating the next generation of the importance of historical figures. Those who are visiting the Highfield Campus can view the tree as it is a welcoming of not only a mark from a memorable event, but also the beginning of further relationships between India and the UK.