Photo: Gandhi Statue at Shidi (Taken by: Ahdi Mark and Friends)
Photo: Inscription on the Gandhi Statue at Shidi (Taken by: Ahdi Mark and Friends)
This statue of Gandhi at Shidi village made milestone in our history.
First, this indicated once for all that Shidi village falls within the territory of Independent India. One source told this was installed in 1972 (date not found in the statue). If that were true, this is immediately before or after the international border demarcations with the Burma government was completed.
Second, the name of the village was changed from Shidi to Gandhigram. Shidi in local dialect means, “fields of grass” (a kind of grass used for roofing the house). But since the coming of the statue until today, the village is known officially as Gandhigram, though all villagers still use Shidi amongst them.
For those who have not seen it, this is located within the church compound, which is located at the center of the village.
I wonder why at Shidi village this was installed. Could it be because the Indian Army first met the Lisu people at Shidi on 7th May 1961?
Older people told me a special helicopter brought this statue.
Photo: PC Lal (IAF)
The person who unveiled it was a high profile officer. I came to know about him only after reading Whos who in the Indian Air Force at a General Knowledge book. After digging a bit more, I found the following about him.
- His full name: Pratap Chandra Lal
- Served as Chief of the Air Staff from 1969 to 1973
- He has written a biography, finally completed by his wife called “My Years with the IAF” published in 1983.
- More about him at Indian Air Force site.
- Perhaps, at that time none of the villagers might know such an important person came to unveiled the status.
Some stories Phamatse, an 80 year old man shared the following on 29 Nov 2016:
A Carebo plane was specifically consigned to transport to Vijoynagar Headquarter and on the same night, it was brought to Shidi by two PWD staffs. Along with it, the Circle Officer wrote a letter to the Headmaster of Govt. Middle School of Shidi village, Mr Bor Saikia, to find some people and paste the inscription on the Statue body that was already completed. Phamatse joined them.
Also he remembers the day PC Lal came. Mr Lal spoke briefly about the significance of that statue and that he has two years to retire from his post.
Another elderly person, Motika (about 75 years) said two helicopters came on the day PC Lal came to unveil the Gandhi Statue. The helicopters landed at School Play ground.
For the school students, this is an important location to pay homage on every Independence Day and the Republic Day.
And this site will continue to play a part of our society’s life even in the days to come.