Sunday Mail Reporter
THE Indian community has contributed immensely to the political development, economic expansion and cultural diversity of Zimbabwe, and the Government will continue to deepen ties with India, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa has said.
She made the remarks yesterday at an event to celebrate the 152nd birthday anniversary of India’s founding father, Mahatma Gandhi.
The event saw the unveiling of Gandhi’s statue, which was erected at the Hindu Society Centre in Harare.
Bilateral relations between Harare and India continue to grow.
“Zimbabwe and India have historically enjoyed a close and friendly relationship. The relationship is steadily moving to newer levels. The high-level visits and regular political exchanges that have taken place recently have provided impetus to the strengthening ties. Zimbabwe is grateful for India’s support in the form of medicines, rice, ambulances and vaccines provided during the current Covid-19 pandemic.”
Minister Mutsvangwa lauded Gandhi for inspiring African leaders to fight colonialism.
“History has faithfully recorded the illustrious exploits of Gandhi, who stood valiantly against racial injustice and oppression not just in India but across the world. In fact, Gandhi’s struggles are inextricably interwoven with our own struggles here in Africa against colonialism,” she said.
“Born as an ordinary person, and trained as a barrister, Mohandas Karamachad Gandhi chose to tread a different path of no-violence and Satyagraha — passive political resistance — when confronted with the brutal realities of oppression.
“He later honed and put his philosophy to effective use in the struggle against the British Empire in India, and India’s independence in turn was the beginning of decolonisation, including in countries of Africa.
“Mahatma Gandhi practised what he preached and has inspired generations of great men, including Dr Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela, along with a whole host of freedom fighters, including our own heroes, who blended his teachings in the conduct of people’s struggle for independence.”
Speaking at the same event, India’s chief diplomat to Zimbabwe, Ambassador Vijay Khanduja, said the statue of Gandhi was historical.
“It is a fitting tribute to the great man who started what he himself called ‘experiments with the truth’ at a place not very distant from here, in South Africa,” he said.
Ambassador Khanduja said the people of India will continue to further strengthen the friendly relations with Zimbabwe.
“The partnership between the two countries continues to grow, be it in the areas of bilateral cooperation or at the multilateral level. I take this opportunity to compliment the Indian community, which has made a name for itself and which is highly respected in Zimbabwe.”
Among the invited guests were diplomats, senior Government officials and religious leaders.