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Ghana To Remove Gandhi's Statue From University Following Protests Over His 'Racist Identity'

"While acknowledging that human as he was, Mahatma Gandhi may have had his flaws, we must remember that people evolve."

08/10/2016 1:32 PM IST | Updated 08/10/2016 4:07 PM IST
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The government of Ghana has acquiesced to students and teachers who were demanding the removal of Mahatma Gandhi's statue from their university campus because of his "racist identity."

Earlier this week, Ghana's Foreign Ministry said that in order to avoid disaffection among governments and peoples, and to to avoid controversy on campus, the statue would be relocated to safety.

"While acknowledging that human as he was, Mahatma Gandhi may have had his flaws, we must remember that people evolve. He inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world," the government said in a statement.

The statue installed at the Legon campus at the University of Ghana was a gift from India, presented by President Pranab Mukherjee, earlier this year. New Delhi, however, is steering clear of generating any controversy over its removal.

Amar Singh, a senior official in the Ministry of External Affairs, said that the Ghana government was relocating the statue to a spot which would be safer than the university "where youth is obviously more excitable."

An online petition on change.org which called for the removal of Gandhi's statute because of his "racist identity" has garnered over 2,000 signatures over the past few weeks.

In the #GandhiMustComeDown petition, Akosua Adomako Ampofo, professor of African Studies at the University of Ghana, cited several of Gandhi's writings from 1894 to 1906 in which he described the "natives of Africa" as "savages" and "raw Kaffir," while excluding them from his struggle against the "degradation inflicted by the Europeans."

"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?" she wrote. "The same goes for the human rights lecturer, the International Law lecturer, the Political Science lecturer teaching on apartheid in South Africa."

The petition called for statutes of "African heroes and heroines" to be erected on the university campus.

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