HYDERABAD: It was only about a month ago that a statue of Mahatma Gandhi, erected on the campus of University of Ghana, was taken down by students and teachers contending that he considered Africans ‘inferior’. Causing an uproar not only in India but also internationally, the incident raised questions regarding some of the less-talked-about aspects of Gandhi’s life, shedding a new light on his character.
However, the African nationals who participated in the Telangana Jagruthi International Youth Leadership Conference, an event themed around the teachings of Gandhi, had no qualms about his attitude towards Africans and were, in fact, sympathetic to it.
Speaking on the sidelines of the event, based on ‘Mahatma Gandhi’s path to sustainability and innovation’, a Tanzanian national Asia Dimoso Magoma, working as a social worker, said, “Gandhi too was a human being at the end of the day. I am here because I believe in the good things that Gandhi did.”
For Ghanaian national Ernest Tsifodze, the act of removing Gandhi’s statue was condemnable. “He was a great man because he has done a lot . Destroying his statue has, in turn, made our country racist. Sure, we can accept that he was racist, but we should have just left it at that.”
In December 2018, the statue of Gandhi was removed from the University of Ghana after students and faculty protested that the leader was racist in his ways. An article published in the The Guardian pointed to a 2005 book which spoke about instances of Gandhi complaining of Indians having to use the same entrances as Africans. He had also used, ‘Kaffir’, a degrading term, to describe African nationals.