Jai Sears in Grenada
I write in response to a letter on Mahatma Gandhi entitled ‘Dustbin of History’ written by Josiah Rougier and published in ‘The New Today (November 3, 2017) of Grenada.
In his letter, Rougier is asking the Government to remove the bust-statue of Gandhi which overlooks Sauteurs Bay in Grenada where East Indians arrived 160 years ago.
His opinion is based on the false notion that Gandhi was racist because the Mahatma reportedly considered Indians to be superior to black Africans when he referred to the latter as “kaffirs.”
Gandhi was only 27 years old when he made that contextual statement.
If Rougier had done his research, he would have found that Nelson Mandela said, “Gandhi must be forgiven for these prejudices in the context of the time and the circumstances.”
The quote can be found in “Gandhi the Prisoner” by Nelson Mandela published in 1995.
Gandhi was a man; he was not God. And even God made mistakes.
Rougier must instead focus on the Gandhi’s vision of non-violent protest and his belief in satyagraha which inspired rebels and revolutionaries around the world.
Influence in Africa and America
Gandhi’s ideas influenced leaders of the African National Congress and the struggle by Indians and blacks against white apartheid rule in South Africa.
From as early as 1956, when he was 27 years old, Martin Luther King, Jr referred to Gandhi as “The guiding light of our technique of nonviolent social change.”
Following the success of his boycott, King contemplated traveling to India to deepen his understanding of Gandhian principles.
The fact is that Gandhi saw people of all races, castes, colours and creeds as equal which led to his assassination by a Hindu fanatic in 1948.
So, who is this unknown Josiah Rougier? Is he as illustrious as the great Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King? And is he disagreeing with his possible heroes?
A friend to all.
Jai Sears lives in Grenada, Caribbean. The above letter was sent to us by our Trinidad & Tobago based Columnist Dr Kumar Mahabir.
The offending Letter that appeared in The New Today of Grenada:
Earlier this year, our brothers and sisters in Ghana, West Africa, pulled down a statue of the late P M Ghandi from their University, following pressure from the public who thought Ghandi was a racist who supported the apartheid system in South Africa.
An Old Quote
The following is a quote by Ghandi dated March 7, 1908: “Kafirs (black) are as a rule uncivilised convicts even more so. They are troublesome, very dirty and live almost like animals.”
As a person of African heritage, is this the kind of person whose bust should be placed any-where among our people? What has this racist ever done for the people of Grenada?
In his own country, he did absolutely nothing for the poor people of India including the (Dravidians Africans) who occupied the South of India. They were at one time the largest group of African outside Africa according to the late Professor Ivan Sertima in his book. ‘Africa’s Gifts to Asia.’
If Indians in Grenada choose to celebrate the birthday of their leader Ghandi, they are free to do so in their own homes, but not among our young children who should be celebrating the life and times of those who fought against the evil system of the apartheid regime in South Africa.”
The bust of this racist man should be removed from its present location and thrown in the “dustbin of history.”
The Statue of Mahatma Gandhi at Sauteurs Bay, Grenada unveiled on January 23, 2013.