July 13, 2014 | By Parmjeet Singh
London, United Kingdom (July 13, 2014): Earlier this week William Hague, the Foreign Secretary and George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, visiting India announced a statue of Mahatma Gandhi would be erected in Parliament Square next year.
The Sikh Federation (UK) condemned the cynical move and also highlighted a dark side of Gandhi that is all too often deliberately and conveniently ignored by today’s politicians across the globe and on all sides.
David Cameron, the Prime Minister, has joined the debate and went out of his way on Thursday to state to Conservative Friends of India: “I think it’s absolutely a brilliant decision that we made this week to have in Parliament Square . . a statue of . . . Mahatma Gandhi,” He like those he addressed only want to see the Gandhi portrayed by Ben Kingsley in the 1982 film and turn a blind eye to his many failings.
Bhai Amrik Singh, the Chair of the Sikh Federation (UK), said: ‘Our objective was to call a spade a spade and start a national debate about the rights and wrongs of having Gandhi’s statue in Parliament Square. This is now happening given the timing of the announcement the day after the UK signed a £250m arms deal with India and our timely reminder of the many controversies surrounding Gandhi’s extremely offensive views and lifestyle choices in this day and age.’
Some have expressed surprise by the tough line taken by the Sikh Federation (UK) that Gandhi was a racist, paedophile and firm believer in the discriminatory Hindu caste system. Others may even have been offended by these hard truths or are choosing to remain blinkered. However, many are now better informed, asking serious questions and some have also commented on some of Gandhi’s other major frailties. Many will never look at Gandhi in the same way again.
A number of journalists have reminded us Gandhi had monstrously sexist views. As one stated this week: ‘Gandhi believed that Indian women who were raped lost their value as human beings, and even suggested that they carried some responsibility for sexual attacks on them.’ No one dare utter such views in India today, where there has been a huge outcry in the last 18 months on rape and the mistreatment of women.
Bhai Amrik Singh, the Chair of the Sikh Federation (UK), added: ‘The Indian regime has for many years deliberately put Gandhi on a pedestal to reap the benefits, but must now accept the inevitable negative publicity associated with him, his statues and some of his scandalous views and habits. Those like Gandhi who has mistakenly become an iconic figure have much to answer for in terms of how women are treated in India today and the incredibly high incidence of rape given his perverted views.’
‘What is or is not acceptable is changing in India as well as Britain. There is no place to hide for those in positions of power, like Gandhi, whether they are dead or alive, who were involved in and promoted child abuse or unashamedly blamed women from rape.’
Other than politicians most now agree the proposed statue of Gandhi has proven to be a feeble foreign relations gesture. The statue will no doubt go ahead given public pronouncements by politicians at the highest level, although U-turns are increasingly popular when wider public opinion starts to change and an election is around the corner.
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Related Topics: Controversy over Gandhi statues in UK, Sikh Federation UK