Statue of ‘Racist’ Mahatma Gandhi Removed From University of Ghana

The statue was removed following complaints that Mahatma Gandhi was a racist and against black Africans.

3 min read
Statue of ‘Racist’ Mahatma Gandhi Removed From University of Ghana

A statue of Mahatma Gandhi has been removed from the campus of the University of Ghana, in its capital Accra, after protests from students and faculty. It was removed in the middle of the night on Tuesday, 11 December, leaving just an empty plinth.

The statue was removed following complaints and a petition alleging that the Indian Independence leader was racist and against black Africans. The petitioners also argued that Gandhi considered Africans “inferior”, The Guardian reported.

The statue, unveiled at the university two years ago by India’s former President Pranab Mukherjee, has been the subject of controversy ever since.

Scholars have highlighted evidence in the past years showing the revered freedom-fighter, whose theories of civil resistance helped India throw off British colonialism and inspired generations of activists including Martin Luther King Jr, held derogatory views towards native communities in South Africa, the report said.

“It’s a massive win for all Ghanaians because it was constantly reminding us of how inferior we are,” Benjamin Mensah, a student at the university, told AFP.

“If we show that we have no respect for ourselves and look down on our own heroes and praise others who had no respect for us, then there is an issue,” he said.

Senior Ghana MP Dispels Impact on Relations with India

According to a report in The Economic TImes, vice-chairman of Ghana's Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, Kwaku Ampratwum Sarpong, ruled out a diplomatic spat between India and his country following removal of Gandhi's statue.

“In erecting the statue originally, I do not think it was something that went through government and went through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs before it got to the University of Ghana for them to erect it. My understanding was that it was something that was done at a very different level... Under normal circumstances, I would have expected that something of this nature which actually cuts across borders would have been initiated,” the senior Ghanian MP told local media, as per the report.


Not an Isolated Incident

In Malawi, many believe that Gandhi’s fight against apartheid in South Africa and British colonialism in India does not justify his “racism”.

Campaigners in the southeastern African nation had won an injunction in October to temporarily halt work on a Gandhi statue that was to be constructed as part of a $10 million-deal with India in Blantyre, Malawi’s commercial capital.

Like Ghana, protesters had accused the ‘Mahatma’ of using racial slurs and spreading hate when he was in Africa.

In a plea filed before the Blantyre High Court, two activists Pemphero Mphande and Mkotama Katenge-Kaunda said that they have Gandhi’s written statements, in which the Indian leader has called black Africans ‘kaffirs’ and declared that Indians are superior to black people.

Speaking to The Quint, Mphande had said: “Unfortunately, going by the history we are taught, Gandhi was a champion against discrimination. But, the truth is that, while championing the freedom movement in India, he weighed in on what he thought were the advantages Indians had over black people in Africa, to establish why they need not be colonised.”

“So, that history needs to be rewritten and I am glad that other people are also coming forward to expose this side of Mahatma Gandhi,” Mphande added.

Read the full story here.

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Topics:  Mahatma Gandhi   Racist   statue 

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