It became one of the most rapidly sprouted controversies when academic scholars who should have known better and student activists who clearly had their allegiance misplaced joined forces to vehemently protest against the University retaining the statue of well famed pacifist; Mahatma Ghandi.
The statue was a gift from the Indian President to University of Ghana. Little did he know the innocently intended good will gesture will stir a rather controversial uprising with international media expectedly doing their bid to inflate the tension.
A petition to remove the statue was disseminated and endorsed by over a thousand respondents all of whom for some inexplicable reason felt that the good teacher was racist and blindly advocated that he be removed from UG campus. It was with great regret and to our eternal shame that I discovered from comparative research that our allegations though true were grossly invalid.
Ghandi was racist but that was before he became a Mahatma who rewrote his wrongs, purified his thoughts, sidelined his past and forged on to become a philosopher so well admired by whites and blacks alike.
As Nelson Mandela puts it:
“In a world driven by violence and strife, Gandhi’s message of peace and nonviolence holds the key to human survival in the 21st century. He rightly believed in the efficacy of pitting the soul force of the satyagraha against the brute force of the oppressor and in effect converting the oppressor to the right and moral point.”
The foundations of the protestors’ claim is firmly rooted in the unarguably prejudiced annotations that the good teacher made in 1893 as expunged from the publication ‘Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi – published by the government of India. Those quotations taken out of context make Ghandi seem like a robber of black dignity when he was in fact a liberator who went to prison on fourteen different occasions while wrestling to break the fetters of racism and colonialism.
There is no surprise then why the petitioners won with their ‘shenanigans’ and yet the monument hasn’t been pulled down. I believe the statue, just as Mahatma Ghandi himself, seemingly defenseless and nonchalant to the aggression of the protestors will continue to stand tall in the face of the hostility. The monument, I firmly trust will re-echo the life of the extraordinary man that it represents.