MeraNews Network, New Delhi: Earlier this week, a statue of Mohandas Karamchand ‘Mahatma’ Gandhi was removed from the campus of the University of Ghana in Accra, Ghana, following complaints that Gandhi was racist to Africans. The statue was unveiled at the campus by former Indian president Pranab Mukherjee in 2016 celebrating the ties between both the countries.
Citing Gandhi’s writings were he termed the Africans as ‘Kaffirs’, a racist slur used against black people, considered equivalent to the term ‘Negro’, professors of the university has started a petition calling for the removal of the statue. According to news agency AFP, the statue was removed in the middle of Tuesday night as the online petition and protests grew across the university.
In a book written by two South African writers in 2015, they had pointed out instances where Gandhi had complained about Indians being forced to use the same separate entrances as Africans and that the civilized habits of Indians would be degraded to the habits of aboriginal natives. The petitioning professors had also cited another writing where Gandhi had called Indians infinitely superior to black Africans.
According to an Al Jazeera report, campaigners in Malawi are currently trying to stop a statue of Gandhi going up in the capital, Blantyre, arguing that he used racial slurs against black people. Though Gandhi is considered as the champion of peace and Indian freedom struggle, his legacy is mixed in Africa, where he worked as a barrister in South Africa from 1893 to 1915.
About two years ago, the previous government of Ghana had said that the statue would be relocated to avoid the controversy becoming a distraction from Ghana’s strong ties of friendship with India, but it was not done.