I write in response to a letter on Mahatma Gandhi entitled “Dustbin of history” written by Josiah Rougier and published in the Grenada newspaper, The New Today (Nov 3, 2017).
In his letter, Rougier is asking the Government to remove the bust-statue of Gandhi which overlooks Sauteurs Bay in Grenada where East Indians arrived160 years ago.
Rougier’s 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 a god. And even gods made mistakes.
Rougier must instead focus on Gandhi’s vision of non-violent protest and his belief in satyagraha which inspired rebels and revolutionaries around the world.
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.
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