The statue of Mahatma Gandhi may be removed from Ghana University due to the ongoing protests by students and academics of the university. An online petition has also been launched in this regard asking authorities to facilitate "the removal of the statue of Gandhi" at the earliest.
During Pranab Mukherjee's recent visit to Ghana, the president gifted the statue to the university.
Cause of the protest
- Alleging Gandhi as racist against black people, the protesters chanted slogans like "Gandhi Must Fall" and "Gandhi For Come Down". The protesters also referred to Gandhi's early writings where he mentioned black Africans as "kaffir"
- The petitioners referred to Gandhi's open letter to The Natal Mercury in 1894, saying he called black Africans as "kaffirs," a derogatory term for black people
- "A general belief seems to prevail in the Colony that the Indians are little better, if at all, than savages or the 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," they quoted Gandhi as saying in the letter
View of the person who led the campaign
Former Director of the Institute of African Studies, Professor Akosua Adomako Ampofo, who led the campaign, had urged members of the University of Ghana Council to heed her petition as honouring Gandhi will set a wrong example for students, as per local media in Ghana.
View of the Professor
"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?" wrote a professor in the petition.
However, there are also some people who opposed the demand:
- A professor of political science and a lawyer, Ocqauye said that a decision to demolish the statue might have implications on diplomatic ties between Ghana and India
- "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," he said.