Mahatma Gandhi is widely remembered as an influential revolutionary who played a very important role during India’s struggle for independence from Britain.
His charisma, intelligence, calmness and forgiving nature made him the perfect role model throughout India and beyond. Some influential politicians and revolutionaries who were also up in arms against their colonial governments during his days were also positively influenced by him.
Despite all this praise, Gandhi, however, was definitely no angel. His resentment towards blacks and racist statements is a topic very worthy of discussion.
After graduating as a lawyer from the prestigious Inner Temple in London, Gandhi moved to South Africa and served as an expatriate lawyer, representing resident Indian communities in their struggle for civil rights. He spent 21 years in South Africa and just like other people of colour, he suffered his fair share of discrimination. That, however, did not change his views about black people being inferior.
His racist history sparked protests from Ghanaian academics and artists some two years ago when the University of Ghana unveiled a statue of him. The group called for the statue to be taken down citing his racism towards blacks when he was alive. Even the year before, protesters in Johannesburg, South Africa, vandalized his statue during an anti-Gandhi protest in which protesters carried placards reading, “Racist Gandhi Must Fall.”
To buttress the fact that he was indeed a racist, here are some of his discriminatory citations including calling black South African’s the “K” word.
“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 [derogatory term used to describe black people in South Africa].”
“In the face, too, of financial operations, the success of which many of their detractors would envy, one fails to understand the agitation which would place the operators in the same category as the half-heathen Native and confine him to Locations, and subject him to the harsher laws by which the Transvaal Kaffir [derogatory term used to describe black people in South Africa] is governed.”
“So far as the feeling has been expressed, it is to degrade the Indian to the position of the Kaffir [derogatory term used to describe black people in South Africa] .”
“Ours is one continual struggle against a degradation sought to be inflicted upon us by the Europeans, who desire to degrade us to the level of the raw Kaffir [derogatory term used to describe black people in South Africa] whose occupation is hunting, and whose sole ambition is to collect a certain number of cattle to buy a wife with and, then, pass his life in indolence and nakedness.”
“Your Petitioner has seen the Location intended to be used by the Indians. It would place them, who are undoubtedly infinitely superior to the Kaffirs [derogatory term used to describe black people in South Africa], in close proximity to the latter.”
“The Boer Government insulted the Indians by classing them with the Kaffirs [derogatory term used to describe black people in South Africa].”