Analyst asks: “On which side of the racial issue does the Davis City Council stand?”
DAVIS, California—One year after the City of Davis in Northern California unveiled a statue of Indian politician Mohandas Gandhi, it is once again facing protest.
In October 2016, approximately 75 protestors demonstrated against the statue, which was donated by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, an affiliate of the Indian government. One of the protestors, Bhajan Singh, declared, “Gandhi is a five-time Nobel Peace Prize reject! A warmonger, a racist, a sex-offender.” Speaking into a bullhorn, the Founding Director of Organization for Minorities of India (OFMI), said, “He is rejected by India’s majority of the population.”
The statue was erected despite protests. Yet, on Oct. 3, the issue was reawakened at the weekly meeting of the Davis City Council. “The statue was paid for by an entity of the Indian State, but it was vehemently protested by a diverse range of Californian citizens,” stated South Asian Affairs analyst Pieter Friedrich in public remarks at the council. “They told you about Gandhi’s racism, his support of the caste system, and his incestuous sexual abuse of his grandnieces.”
In comments to OFMI, Friedrich describes Davis Mayor Robb Davis as “prophetic,” explaining, “When Mayor Davis spoke at the unveiling ceremony, he knew he was launching a controversy. He asked: ‘What will you do here, Mr. Gandhi?’ Well, one year later, we know what the Davis Gandhi statue will do to the city — it will besmirch its otherwise sterling reputation and be a source of contention and division.”
In his remarks on Oct. 3, Friedrich compared the Davis Gandhi statue to statues of members of the Confederate States of America which are currently being removed. His full remarks were as follows:
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Perhaps you’ve heard about the controversy over the removal of statues of Confederate leaders?
In Charlottesville, Virginia, it was so controversial that people who opposed removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee rallied, unfurled Swastika banners, and instigated a riot which killed one person.
Despite neo-Nazi opposition, statues are still being removed.
Removing statues glorifying people who participated in a war to preserve slavery seems like a good idea. These Confederates, of course, were all Americans — Lee was from Virginia.
So when we are removing statues of racist Americans, why are we installing statues of racist non-Americans?
In October 2016, the Davis City Council unveiled a statue of Indian politician Mohandas Gandhi at Central Park. The statue was paid for by an entity of the Indian State, but it was vehemently protested by a diverse range of Californian citizens.
They told you about Gandhi’s racism, his support of the caste system, and his incestuous sexual abuse of his grandnieces. They echoed these intellectuals —
South African journalist Sentletse Diakanyo, who writes, “The greatest injustice against the struggle for liberation of black people was the projection of Mahatma Gandhi as committed to a cause against segregation…. Gandhi held an absurd belief that Indians, along with whites, were a superior race to black people…. He conspired with the oppressive white government in promotion of segregation of black people.”
Booker Prize winning Indian author Arundhati Roy, who asks, “How is it that one of [the caste system’s] most ardent supporters has come to be seen as the saint of the modern world? …. Right to the end of his days, [Gandhi] believed in Varnashrama Dharma [the caste system].”
Indian feminist Rita Banerji, who writes, “Gandhi used his position to sexually exploit young women…. Gandhi had young women in his ashram, some of them still teenagers, one of them his own grand-niece (Manu Gandhi), sleep naked with him in his bed at night…. I [see] Gandhi as a classic example of a sexual predator.”
That’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Let me conclude by asking:
Why did the City of Davis sell out to a foreign government?
On which side of the racial issue does the Davis City Council stand?
When will you remove the statue of a racist, casteist, sexual predator?