Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (2 October 1869 - 30 January 1948) was the preeminent leader of Indian nationalism in British-ruled India. Employing nonviolent civil disobedience, Gandhi led India to independence and inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world. The honorific Mahatma (Sanskrit: "high-souled", "venerable") - applied to him first in 1914 in South Africa - is now used worldwide. He is also called Bapu in India.
Gandhi is commonly, though not officially, considered the Father of the Nation in India. His birthday, 2 October, is commemorated there as Gandhi Jayanti, a national holiday, and world-wide as the International Day of Nonviolence.
This four-meter square statue, the biggest Mahatma Gandhi statue in Asia, is surrounded by eight magnificent granite pillars which were brought from Gingee, a fort some 70kms from Puducherry. The pillars were erected in 1866, while the statue, placed opposite the old Pier, was inaugurated on January 26, 1965.
There is a tunnel below the Gandhi statue that leads all the way to Gingee. The Government even took efforts to desilt the tunnel. But, after a few people died of suffocation while walking through it, the tunnel was closed for good in the 1960s.
The square in front of the statue, referred to as Gandhi Thidal, plays host to various cultural, musical and commercial activities through the year.