SAN FRANCISCO, California, USA—On the occasion of Gandhi’s birthday, activists visited a Northern California statue of the Indian icon to demand its removal and call on the U.S. Congress to reject the recently introduced House Resolution 6916, which seeks to posthumously award Gandhi a Congressional Gold Medal.
Jada Bernard, an African activist, offered the following remarks:
Bill Cosby gave us the “Huxtables,” a positive image of professionals raising their children in HBCUs [Historically Black Colleges and Universities]. He gave millions of dollars to actual HBCUs, hoping to educate the next generation.
I do not want to excuse any action that he may have made. He’s been convicted, and we see him as a criminal, so I’m not going to excuse that. But we do want to compare it.
Brett Kavanaugh. He was 18 years old. Nineteen years old. He was in college.
I don’t want to excuse the actions of these gentlemen, but I do want to compare it to the actions of Mohandas Gandhi. Mohandas Gandhi was in his 70s when he preyed on his teenage female relatives, one of whom was 12 years old when she entered under his guardianship. He ordered them to sleep naked with him in order for him to test his celibacy.
I’m pretty sure that that would be illegal by today’s standards.
This sexual predator has a statue erected of him, and it’s standing behind me. And he’s been continued to be propagated as a man of peace, although he was active in every major war of his lifetime. As a man of humanity, even though he preyed on his teenage female relatives. And as a man of unity and racial harmony, even though he’s thought by some to be the Father of Apartheid.
Propaganda is powerful, but don’t let it stop you from acknowledging the real criminals.
There was a political agenda that happened when India was freed from the British. It wasn’t a revolution of consciousness. It wasn’t a philosophical liberation. This was a political action that was led by a lawyer who held the title of Sergeant-Major in the British Army.
Let’s look into politics a little bit more. Let’s look into history a little bit more. Let’s look into what we pass on to our children a little bit more because we don’t want to pass on the legacy of a pedophile.
Pieter Friedrich, a South Asian Affairs Analyst, offered the following remarks:
I’m here today on October 2, 2018. This day marks both Mohandas Gandhi’s birthday as well as the two year anniversary of the erection of the statue behind me, which was strongly, vociferously protested by members of this community. And yet the City Council chose to ignore the concerns of their own community and to erect this statue behind me, which was paid for by the Indian government and which was lobbied for by the Indian government.
And I’m here today to reiterate demands for removal of this statue because Gandhi was, in short, a racist who propagated a campaign of hatred against blacks in pre-apartheid South Africa, a casteist who demanded the perpetuation of the caste system in India and the subjugation of the Dalit people, and a sexual predator who preyed on teenage female relatives while one of them was even under his guardianship — and forced them to sleep naked with him in his bed while he was the age of 75.
So, once again, I’m demanding that this statue be removed, and I’m also speaking out in opposition to House Resolution 6916, which was introduced by Representative Carolyn Maloney, and which seeks to posthumously award Gandhi a Congressional Gold Medal in recognition to his services to the nation.
Firstly, Gandhi has rendered no service to this nation, the United States of America. Secondly, Gandhi does not deserve to be awarded. We should be prosecuting sexual predators, not awarding them. And we certainly should not be awarding racists who propagate segregation, especially in light of the history of this country — of the USA — where we are still dealing with the repercussions of slavery, and segregation, and where we have not yet come to terms with the issue of white supremacy.
So, I demand removal of this statue, and I demand that the U.S. Congress reject this House Resolution 6916.