INSIGHT: ‘Gandhi Has Got to Go…He Never Changed’
Gandhi, a man whose real legacy is racism, casteism, and sexual abuse, has been falsely projected as a civil rights hero. He has robbed our true civil rights heroes of their rightful place. The Gandhi statues around the world do not symbolize what we are told they are intended to symbolize. These words sound politically incorrect, sulfurous, even crass, no?. May be so, but this was the narrative at a speech delivered in Davis, California Gandhi Statue.
BY PIETER FRIEDRICH –19 June 2020 marked the 155th anniversary of Juneteenth, the day celebrating the final liberation of African-Americans from slavery.
The struggle did not end there. It continued for decades as African-Americans faced segregation, discrimination, systemic racism. It continues even today as our country is still dotted by statues of Confederates — statues of people who fought a war to preserve slavery.
Today, these statues are being torn down — sometimes through legal processes and sometimes by understandably infuriated crowds angry over the ongoing glorification of slave-holders.
We face a more complicated journey when confronted by statues of people who, we are told, represented justice, equality, and peace and yet, actually and in fact, represented the exact opposite.
As in the case of Mohandas Gandhi.
“Whether it was Martin Luther King Jr. or Nelson Mandela, the basis of their ideas was Mahatma Gandhi — it was Gandhi’s vision.” That’s what Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said last year to commemorate the 150th birthday of the so-called “Mahatma” or “Great Soul.”
Thus, we are told, the struggle for black liberation — from the United States of America to South Africa — owes its very existence to Gandhi.
Gandhi Never Changed
Gandhi lived in South Africa for 21 years. He spent a huge portion of his professional life there. He didn’t leave until he was 45 years old. And while he was there, yes, he said a lot of racist things. A lot of very racist things.
He called black Africans “savages” and said that they “are very lazy,” “are of no use,” and are “as a rule uncivilized.” He called Africans “the children of black heathendom and outer darkness” and claimed that an African’s “sole ambition is to collect a certain number of cattle to buy a wife with and, then, pass his life in indolence and nakedness.”
Time and time again, Gandhi argued that special taxes, passes, and registrations were necessary for Africans but wrong for Indians because — he said — Indians were hard workers but Africans did not work at all.
Over and over again, Gandhi told the white colonizers it was an “insult” and a “gross injustice” for Indians to be classed with Africans. Gandhi told the colonizers: “Indians… are undoubtedly infinitely superior to the Africans.” Gandhi even told the colonizers that Indians and Europeans belong to the same “stock” — “the Aryan stock.”
While the Africans sweated and bled under the oppression of colonialism, Gandhi was hobnobbing with the colonizers, telling them that he believed in “the purity of race,” that he wanted “the purity of all the races and not one alone,” and that he thought that “the white race in South Africa should be the predominating race.”
And — here’s the important part — Gandhi didn’t just say racist things. He demanded racial segregation. And he joined the white colonizers in a war to exterminate African freedom fighters.
For fifteen years, from 1895 to 1910, Gandhi campaigned — sometimes successfully — for segregating Africans from Indians in neighborhoods, schools, post offices, trains, prisons, and even on footpaths.
Gandhi was 36 years old when he begged the colonizers to allow Indians to play their part in a war against Zulu rebels, when he raised a special fund and sent care packages to the colonial British soldiers fighting those Zulus, and when he ordered Indians to volunteer for military service to fight Africans because “now is the time when the leading whites want us to take this step.”
Then Gandhi partnered with the colonizers in their war against the Zulus — and afterwards insisted that there was no reason for outrage over the “great atrocities” perpetrated “by the whites” on the Africans.
For a man who is championed as a “Great Soul” and pushed as a saint for the African-American civil rights struggle, Gandhi sure is a strange choice.
Gandhi never changed. More…
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