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Dear Friends of the Antwerp Indian Association and Dear Friends of India,

It was a rainy day last Monday with an overcast sky when I went to the Antwerp Court of Justice. But then I had a very first look of the recently placed statue of the Mahatma on location in front of the Antwerp Court of Justice I was overjoyed and filled with pride and emotion !

This Friday, October to 2nd 2020, we will inaugurate the new statue of Mahatma Gandhi in the presence of His Excellency the Ambassador of India, Mr. Santosh Jha, Mme Cathy Berx, Governor of the Province of Antwerp, Mr. Bart De Wever, Mayor of Antwerp and Mrs. Nabilla Ait Douad, the Alderman for Culture of the Antwerp city.

Thereafter a short memorial ceremony will follow in the Provincial building of the Province of Antwerp but regretfully, on account of the corona epidemy, the ceremonies will be restricted to only but a few participants whereas the general public will be able to follow the proceedings via Facebook.

This new beautiful statue of the Mahatma is a gift of the people of India to the people of Antwerp.

It is located just in front of the Antwerp Court of Justice and I could hardly think of any better location for this statue.

It will be a sign of hope for all the people attending the Court seeking justice in the legal problems they are facing, and for the lawyers, magistrates and judges it will be a strong source of inspiration when they toil and labour to find just and equitable solutions to the cases they are dealing with.

Mahatma Gandhi was himself a practising lawyer, regularly appearing in court. He got his legal education at the Bar in London, where he was a member of the highly respected Inner Temple and he left London as a fully qualified barrister.

In South Africa he practised law in a well known law office. But in South Africa he was also vividly reminded of racial discrimination against coloured people and Asians. The incident in Pietermaritzburg, where he got kicked of the train on account of his race, was a marker for the rest of his life.

Although he was undoubtedly a talented and scholarly educated lawyer, he also must have gained lot of practical legal experience because so many times he was at the very center himself of criminal proceedings and his regular stays in Her Majesty’s prisons have undoubtedly adequately introduced him into the intricacies of English law or Tory criminal justice.

Of the many cases he has argued for the courts, there is one that stands out. It is a case of “The sovereign People of India versus Colonial rule and oppression” . It was a difficult and life long legal battle but ultimately he finally prevailed and obtained the liberation of India from British rule.

This case was not argued before any specific British or Indian colonial court but before the court of universal humanity and dignity.

And the tools the lawyer Mahatma Gandhi used were not law books and complicated statutes, nor was he assisted by a mega law office with an army of lawyers in the battlefield. In fact he was a single practitioner and his tools were as simple as they were effective: an unshakeable conviction of the just cause in view, a clear perception of what is right and wrong, unbreakable courage and resilience, the rule of reason and kindness in his judgement.

His method was :non violence or Ahimsa ,quite the opposite of the preferred aggressive style of some past and actual world leaders well-known for their rude language and bullying.

This brilliant legal mind prevailed in the most important lawsuit, so to say, of the 20th century. He liberated an entire continent only with his unshakeable faith in justice and human dignity and tolerance free from oppression. Truly, he is an inspiring source of courage and energy for any lawyer entering any court of law in the world.

I want to thank most sincerely the Government and the People of India for donating this beautiful statue to the City and the People of Antwerp.

I thank their Excellencies the Ambassadors Mrs Gaitri Issar Kumar and Mr Santosh Jha, for everything what they have done to implement this project which started some three years ago. I thank particularly the Province of Antwerp and the City of Antwerp for offering this beautiful and proper location to the statue of Mahatma Gandhi which will soon become an iconic place in our great city.

Marc A. Huybrechts
Advocate and Member of the Bar of Antwerp
Honorary Consul General of India in Antwerp

The H. Consul General with his wife an Mrs and Mrs Hiren Shah on a Consular visit to the Antwerp Port House in June 2017

The H.Consul General India, Marc A Huybrechts, with Mr Anand Sahu, President of the Bharatiya Janata Party in his office on occasion of his visit to Antwerp in July 2017

The H.Consul General Marc A Huybrechts attended the masterclass of the Indian Emeritus Professor Upendra Baxi at the Antwerp University where he was a awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the Rector H.Van Goethem on March 29 2018

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Gazetted Holidays
Fri-Jan 25 Milad un Nabi
Sat-Jan 26 Republic Day
Fri-Mar 29 Good Friday
Wed-Apr 24 Mahavir Jayanti
Sat-May 25 Buddha Purnima
Fri-Aug 9 Idu'l Fitr
Thu-Aug 15 Independence Day
Wed-Oct 2 Gandhi's Birthday
Sun-Oct 13 Dussehra
Wed-Oct 16 Idul Zuha (Bakrid)
Sun-Nov 3 Diwali (Deepavali)
Thu-Nov 14 Muharram
Sun-Nov 17 Guru Nanak Birthday
Wed-Dec 25 Christmas Day
Sponsors for the statue of Mahatma Gandhi
    • Antwerp World Diamond Centre
      Hoveniersstraat 22
      2018 ANTWERP
    • Antwerp Indian Association
    • JAIN CULTURAL CENTER ANTWERP  VZW
      J C C A
      LAARSTRAAT-20 , 2610 WILRIJK , BELGIUM
    • State Bank of India (Antwerp)
      Korte Herentalsestraat 3
      2018 Antwerp
    • Bank of India (Antwerp)
      Schupstraat 18-20
      2018 Antwerp

    • Rosy Blue NV
    • Gemini Corporation N V
      Gemini House,
      Waterwilgweg 6,
      2050 Antwerp,Belgium.
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