‘Gandhi must fall’; Ghana University students and teachers demand

Mahatma Gandhi’s statue, installed in the premises of the Ghana university, will soon be removed from the campus. The statue was gifted to the university by the President of India, Pranab Mukherjee when he visited Ghana recently. The protesting students are demanding this calling his identity ‘racist’, and instead of this statue, they want the statues of African heroes and heroines erected on the campus. The teachers of the university are also not happy as they were not consulted before installing the statue of Mahatma Gandhi on the premises.

Akosua Adomako Ampofo, professor of African Studies at the University of Ghana, said in an online petition on change.org, “How will the historian teach and explain that Gandhi was uncharitable in his attitude towards the Black race and see that we’re glorifying him by erecting a statue on our campus? The same goes for the human rights lecturer, the International Law lecturer, the Political Science lecturer teaching on apartheid in South Africa.” He has been leading the campaign so far.

Not only this, he has also cited several of the writing of Mahatma Gandhi in which he has called the Africans as the raw ‘kafir’ and the savages. Slogans like “Gandhi must fall” and “Gandhi for come down” are doing the rounds. Ampofo said that Gandhi was racist against black people and honoring him would lead to a negative impact. They have produced a letter by Gandhi which said, “A general belief seems to prevail in the colony that the Indians are little better, if at all, than savages or Natives of Africa. Even the children are taught to believe in that manner, with the result that the Indian is being dragged down to the position of a raw Kaffir.”

At the same time, there are people who have been opposing the demand. A professor of Political Science believes that if the status of Mahatma Gandhi is removed, it will lead to disrupting the relations between India and Ghana. He said, “It will be most unnecessary, most uncalled for and not in the supreme interest of Ghanaians and we must know what serves our interest best.”

1 Comment

  • Although it is an oxymoron to say one is a Gandhian scholar, I have spent over 30 years of my life studying Gandhi’s thought, and seeking to understand my own relationship to the ideals he gave humanity a vision of. In the last several years there has been an unfortunate and ignorant effort to portray Gandhi as racist among other things. Gandhi evolved to the ideals that he place before humanity in an unending experiment throughout his entire life. I would like to ask:
    Are the students and faculty at the University of Ghana aware that Gandhi had his house in S. Africa built according to native architecture, the Kraal? Would a racist person want anything to do with native architecture?
    Are they aware that the “ambulance corp’ Gandhi made with other colonialized Indians, was the only succor for wounded Zulus in the horrific Zulu War of Independence (Bambata Rebellion)? (Have they experienced personally the devastating effects of growing up under colonialism upon the psyche?) White military refused to touch them after mortally wounding them. Gandhi was grateful to be able to be of service to them. Is that a racist attitude?
    Are the students aware that Gandhi and Tagore jointly called for all Indians in Africa to educate their children along with Africans?
    The students should be encouraged to read Gandhi’s “Story of My Experiments with Truth” and critically examine what they are hearing, and what they have learnt. They might likewise examine the structures and directions that their present education is taking them, for whose profit, and to what ends? They might find in Gandhi’s work for the poor of India, solutions to the real problems of Ghana. Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu made a deep study of Gandhi’s life, and never came to such shallow conclusions.

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