Let the statues fall

December 14, 2018

There is a news report in The Guardian that Gandhi’s 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 report ends with these lines:

/Ghana’s former government had said the statue would be relocated to prevent the controversy from “becoming a distraction from our strong ties of friendship” with India. But two years later the statue had still not been relocated./

I hope the Indian government does not indulge in any sort of statue diplomacy in Africa. If young Africans feel they don’t want Gandhi’s statues in their countries or universities, we should respect their sentiments.

Was Gandhi racist? I don’t think so. I understand his statements and language in a certain context. I understand why his struggle in Africa was limited to securing/protecting the rights of Indians. Africans seeking to assert themselves may not necessarily pay much importance to those contexts. It is their loss in a way, but they have the right to choose their heroes.

Let Gandhi win their hearts first, through his life and message. Statues can fall. This is what Gandhi would have wanted.