Thu, 20 Jun 2019

Mahatma Gandhi accused of racism in Ghana

PanArmenian.Net
14 Dec 2018, 21:07 GMT+10

PanARMENIAN.Net - A Mahatma Gandhi statue has been removed from the campus of the University of Ghana after protests from students and faculty who argue the Indian independence leader considered Africans "inferior", The Guardian reports.

The statue was unveiled at the university in the Ghanian capital Accra two years ago but has been the subject of controversy and was removed in the middle of the night on Tuesday, leaving just an empty plinth.

Scholars have highlighted evidence in 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.

A 2015 book by two South African writers pointed to instances where Gandhi complained that Indians were being forced to use the same separate entrances as Africans, meaning "their civilised habits ... would be degraded to the habits of aboriginal natives".

"About the mixing of the Kaffirs with the Indians, I must confess I feel most strongly," he wrote in a letter in 1904.

More sympathetic students of Gandhi's life say his views were ignorant and prejudiced but a product of their time, and that his campaigns for social justice hold universal resonance and have fuelled some civil rights activism in Africa.

Students at the university welcomed the decision to remove the statue. "It's a massive win for all Ghanaians because it was constantly reminding us of how inferior we are," Benjamin Mensah told Agence France-Presse.

The head of language, literature and drama at the Institute of African Studies, Obadele Kambon, said the removal was an issue of "self-respect".

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