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India aids memorial to Gandhi's friend

India aids setting up of memorial to Keir Hardie who championed the cause of India's independence.

india Updated: Dec 01, 2006 18:56 IST

The Indian government has contributed to the setting up of a memorial to Keir Hardie, the first leader of the Parliamentary Labour Party who championed the cause of India's independence and forged a long relationship with Mahatma Gandhi.

The memorial will be unveiled in Aberdare in the Cynon Valley, Wales, this week. The memorial is mounted on a granite plinth gifted by India. The granite from Chennai was shipped to the Felixstowe docks.

A Scotsman, Hardie was born on August 15, 1856 and died on September 26, 1915. He hailed from a humble working class background and rose to become one of Britain's most notable politicians.

He was MP for Merthyr and Aberdare from 1900 to his death in 1915. He was also the first chairman of the Parliamentary Labour Party.

The memorial will be unveiled by Cynon Valley MP Ann Clwyd, who now chairs the Parliamentary Labour Party.

Clwyd told reporters: "I am delighted that at long last there will be a permanent memorial to Keir Hardie in the Cynon Valley. I think it is important that we have a lasting reminder of the contribution that he made to this area and to working people throughout the country.

"I am enormously proud both to be the MP for the constituency Keir Hardie represented, and to be the current chair of the Parliamentary Labour Party."

The plinth of granite has been donated by the Indian government as a gesture in recognition of Hardie's work to champion the cause of Indian independence. He campaigned for self-rule in India and an end to segregation in South Africa.

A representative of the Indian high commission is expected to be present on the occasion.