SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — Ghana has said it will remove a statue of Mahatma Gandhi from a university campus in the nation’s capital where it had sparked protests over the leader’s allegedly racist attitudes.
Unveiled by Indian President Pranab Mukherjee during his visit to Ghana in June, was meant to symbolize friendship between the two countries, according to Ghana’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. But professors and students at the University of Ghana called the statue “a slap in the face” because of Gandhi’s “racist identity.” They started an online petition calling for the statue’s removal.
The petition cited letters Gandhi wrote during his time in South Africa as evidence that he advocated for the superiority of Indians over black Africans. It also took issue with his use of the derogatory term kaffir to refer to native Africans and criticized the lack of statues of African heroes and heroines on campus.
Ghana’s government wants to relocate the statue “to ensure its safety and to avoid the controversy,” the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Wednesday.
Recently, in Davis, Calif., the ceremony of the unveiling of a new Gandhi statue was met with protesters who had fought the installation of the artwork. Gandhi has a history of racism and abuse, as well as sexual misconduct, the group claims, according to the Davis Enterprise.
“It is undisputed that Gandhi was a hero to many, but it should be (noted that) he was also a bigot and predator of members of his own family,” said Sacramento businessman Amar Shergill.
The Davis City Council, at one point, were considering a review on the decision to place the statue, but that was voted down and the installation went forward as planned.
“I don’t think this is a peaceful action for the city … for (Indian immigrants) to be reminded what their family members have to deal with every day, people that are fighting against the caste system,” said Granal Pringh, a freshman at UC Davis, to the Davis Enterprise.
The statue was acquired after almost a year of planning efforts by a local citizens group and was donated to the city by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, an affiliate of the government. The overall cost of the statue, installation and shipping expenses is $22,000. There is no cost to the city.
Those who worked in arranging the funds necessary for the statue and its placement said Gandhi served as an inspiration for millions in so many different areas of the globe.