Remove Gandhi's statue at CSU Fresno
Remove Gandhi's statue at CSU Fresno
Why this petition matters
- To allow the statue to remain on CSU Fresno's campus will do even more harm and make us appear to hold double-standards.
- Gandhi was refused the Nobel Peace Prize on five separate occasions.
- Gandhi’s statue has been removed from the Ghana University by the Ghana government in 2018 and the placement of the Gandhi statue at the California State Capitol in 2010 was rejected. Thousands of people around the world are signing petitions for the removal of Gandhi's statue on their campus/city
- Gandhi believed in the caste system and campaigned against the efforts of the Dalits ("Untouchables" of India)
- Gandhi actively campaigned against the Zulu nonviolent civil rights movement
- Gandhi called for the segregation of Indians from “Kaffirs” (a derogatory term for Black Africans) but did not challenge segregation of Indians from whites.
How will the historian teach and explain that Gandhi was uncharitable in his attitude towards the Black race and see that we are glorifying him by erecting a statue on our campus?
Gandhi is idolized worldwide as a prophet, a visionary, even a messiah. However, the popular image of Gandhi is a myth. The lack of efficient methods of communication and documentation in the past allowed Gandhi to effortlessly create a convincing but false image of himself. Gandhi was deeply prejudiced against all minorities, from black Africans, Jews, to low-caste Hindus. He also demonstrated a shocking lack of morality, from sleeping naked with young girls to employing nonviolence merely as a tool of political expediency.
Feb. 15, 1904 ~ “Of course, under my suggestion, the Town Council must withdraw the Kaffirs from the Location. About this mixing of the Kaffirs with the Indians, I must confess I feel most strongly. I think it is very unfair to the Indian population and it is an undue tax on even the proverbial patience of my countrymen.” ~ Vol. III, p. 429 (The Collected Works of Gandhi)
1. Gandhi's racist identity - Timeline:
“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.” ~ Vol. I, p. 193
“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 is governed.” ~ Vol. I, pp. 224-225
“So far as the feeling has been expressed, it is to degrade the Indian to the position of the Kaffir.” ~ Vol. I, p. 229
“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 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.” ~ Vol. I, pp. 409-410
“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, in close proximity to the latter.” ~ Vol. II, p. 270
“The Boer Government insulted the Indians by classing them with the Kaffirs.” ~ Vol. V, p. 59
Source: Gandhi and South African Blacks ( http://www.gandhiserve.org/e/cwmg/cwmg.htm )
*(NOTE-The term kaffir is considered a racial slur used in reference to indigenous Black South Africans.)
2. Removal of racist symbols from renowned universities worldwide:
While well known Universities around the world are willing to remove racist symbols on their campus, the question that arises is why can't CSU Fresno?
Former bastions of slavery, apartheid and white supremacy, statues and other symbols associated with controversial persons have been pulled down or removed. Below are just a few examples:
- August 2016: Yale University is in the process of removing stained glass windows that depict enslaved Africans. It is also reconsidering keeping the name of Calhoun College, named for John C Calhoun, a 19th-century vice-president, South Carolina senator and Yale alumnus who established himself as a vocal advocate for slavery. In April 2015 President of Yale, Peter Salovey said the name would remain. He has since appointed a new committee to develop guidelines for proposals to remove historical names from university buildings -- including Calhoun's.
- May 2016: Yale announced it would name a residential college, set to open in 2017, for Anna Pauline “Pauli” Murray, a black Yale Law School alumna and civil rights activist.
- March 2016: A committee tasked with re-considering Harvard Law School’s seal in light of its ties to slavery recommended that the Harvard Corporation revoke the emblem’s status as the school’s official symbol. The seal bears the crest of the former slave-owning Royal family, whose donation helped establish Harvard’s first law professorship in the late 18th century.
- November 2015: Georgetown University renamed two buildings on campus, Mulledy and McSherry Hall, that honor former presidents who organized the sale of slaves to a Louisiana plantation to help pay off the school's debt. (The school has not yet chosen permanent names, but for now Mulledy Hall will be called Freedom Hall, and McSherry Hall will be named Remembrance Hall, according to the Washington Post).
- October 2015: Rhodes University established a renaming team to remove the name of Cecil Rhodes, former prime minister of the Cape colony, and one of the founders of apartheid.
- March to April 2015: First the senate and then the Council of the University of Cape Town voted to remove the statue of Cecil Rhodes.
3. Protests against statues of Gandhi throughout the world:
There have been protests against Gandhi's statues in Irving, Texas in 2014. According to Gandhism.org, "past protests occurred at Gandhi statues in California in 2013 in the cities of Fresno and Cerritos, in San Francisco in 2011 and 2010, in Flint, Michigan in 2010," in London in 2008 and in 2003 and 2015 in Johannesburg, South Africa, where Gandhi lived for 21 years and where he is known for his role in the establishment of the infamous caste-like apartheid system.
We can do the honorable thing by pulling down the statue. It is better to stand up for our dignity than to kowtow to the wishes of a burgeoning Eurasian super-power. Some harm has already been done by erecting the statue. We have failed the generation that look up to us, namely our students. How will the historian teach and explain that Gandhi was uncharitable in his attitude towards the Black race and see that we are glorifying him by erecting a statue on our campus? The same goes for the human rights lecturer, the International Law lecturer, the Political Science lecturer teaching at CSU Fresno. However, to allow the statue to remain on the campus will do even more harm and make CSU Fresno appear to hold double-standards.
During Gandhi’s early years in South Africa he actively campaigned against the Zulu nonviolent civil rights movement. Gandhi called for the segregation of Indians from “Kaffirs” (a derogatory term for Black Africans) but did not challenge segregation of Indians from whites.
For more information visit www.gandhism.net
For these reasons, Gandhi was refused the Nobel Peace Prize on five separate occasions. Gandhi’s statue has been removed from the Ghana University by the Ghana government in 2018 and the placement of the Gandhi statue at the California State Capitol in 2010 was rejected.
In light of the current removal of racist images globally in solidarity of the Black Lives Matter movement, thousands of signatures have been collected to remove the Gandhi statue in Leicester, UK and from Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. We demand the City of Fresno remove the racist image of Gandhi, represented by the presence of his statue, from the Peace Garden at Fresno State.
We should not bury our head in the sand and expect that the storm will die down.
We thank you for your attention!
1) Gborbilor Aberqu "Gandhi's Statue at the University Of Ghana Must Come Down" (Petition)
2) Gurneel Singh "Remove Racist Gandhi Statue in Davis" (Petition)
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- Joseph I. Castro