Monument Gandhi (1869-1948) en Nationaal Hindostaans Immigratiemonument
Hobbemaplein, Den Haag
52.066767793216, 4.2968518784695 View on map
Mahatma Gandhi leading the Salt March. That image had stuck in the mind of sculptor Karel Gomes. And that is how he has portrayed this important Indian politician and advocate of independence. The Gandhi monument shows the small, slender Hindu man walking barefoot, wrapped in a simple cloth and holding his stick in his right hand. This is how he led the peaceful protest march in 1930 against the British monopoly on salt production. Working in a naturalistic style, Gomes succeeded in depicting both the outward and inward aspects of Gandhi. Gomes's Gandhi, with his determined walk, exudes the enormous strength of mind with which he achieved many of his ideals.
In 2004, the Gandhi monument on the Hobbemaplein was unveiled, together with the National Hindustani Immigration Monument. Both memorials are a gift from the Sarnámi Institute Netherlands to the municipality of The Hague. The monuments were erected to commemorate two important moments in Hindustani immigration history. Namely that shortly after 1870, the first groups of Hindustani contract workers were recruited in India, then the British East Indies, to work on Surinamese plantations. And that around Surinam's independence in 1975, many of these workers' descendants came to the Netherlands. Most of them settled in the region of The Hague.
The Immigration Monument depicts immigration in an anecdotal way. The bronze statue of Gandhi has a symbolic meaning. Gandhi is considered a great inspiration to many Hindus, here and in Surinam. Adhering to the core values of 'non-violence', 'truth' and 'solidarity', which Gandhi strictly adhered to, Hindus were able to settle in a new environment while retaining their own cultural identity. The monument bears Gandhi's words: 'I want all cultures of all countries to blow through my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet, by any one.