© AP Photo / Channi Anand
On November 25 in the heart of the British Manchester scheduled ceremonial opening of the three-meter bronze statue of Mahatma Gandhi, the universally accepted ideology of non-violent resistance and decolonization. The monument is supposed to symbolize “peace and love”. But the closer this date, the more doubts about will there be a ceremony at all. Students from the University of Manchester want to ban the statue and launched a campaign “Gandhi must fall” (#GandhiMustFall). They justify their struggle with the fact that Mahatma Gandhi was a racist and an ideologue of British imperialism.Agree, we brought up in another narrative about the history of Gandhism, to hear such statements quite strange. The image of a respectable old man, suffering for the people and the hunger strike for the sake of peace and Concord, is firmly entrenched in our perception — you remember the famous phrase “After the death of Mahatma Gandhi and no one to talk to”.But during the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the great Indian, which was celebrated in early October, in different parts of the world it was accused of racism and colonialism, and indulging in caste-based discrimination and disrespect towards women, and traditionally, in recent years, sexual harassment. Protests in Manchester did not stop. For example, in the town of Lilburne (a suburb of Atlanta in the American Georgia) was planned to be a harmless action — planting of 150 trees to the anniversary of Gandhi and a small bust. However, the surprise of the local Indian community, this was objected to African Americans, with the result that the event was disrupted.
The motives of the protesters stated in their petition quite simply and clearly: “the Statue of Gandhi overthrown around the world, because now revealed his racist views about Africans. We have to stop this project.””Around the world” is, of course, loudly. Yet the most famous episode last year, when the government of Ghana approved the demolition of the sculptures of the leader of the Indian resistance movement at the University of Accra. At the same time, the Supreme court of Malawi has forbidden to erect a monument to Gandhi in the country. But what of the action, requiring the cancellation of the celebration of this historical figure become ubiquitous, is an indisputable fact. In the United States during the current protests Gandhi has already declared the “father of apartheid”. Here’s a rapid evolution happening before our eyes — from the ideology of peace and harmony becomes a focus of world evil.The history of the monument in Manchester began in 2017, when a suicide bomber blew himself up at a concert of Ariana Grande. The city authorities have decided to undertake a set of measures promoting universal love, peace and non-violence. Reminded of Gandhi, who, it would seem, is still embodied all of this in one person. Especially since he was in Manchester in 1931, when they wanted to see how the boycott of British goods in India affects the local textile industry. In fact, the authors of the sculpture and depicted it in the form in which he walked the city during his visit.But local authorities obviously did not take into account the current demographic situation of Manchester: people from Pakistan have become the second ethnic group after the English, and their share has already reached nine percent (residents of Indian descent — about two percent). In fact, the struggle of University students against the monument was headed by a bright representative of the local Muslim community Sarah Khan, which immediately after admission to the University is famous for a range of cutting edge initiatives. For a start, it called for a ban in high school applause, as this may adversely affect people with autism and neurological disorders.Then he convinced his students to paint in the lobby, a poem by the English poet Rudyard Kipling, replacing it quotes American activist for the rights of black Maya Angelou. Kipling also not pleased by the fact that he was “racist and imperialist”. In particular, Khan recalled his poem “the white man’s Burden”, a kind of anthem of colonialism. Kipling was criticized for this work during his lifetime. Although if you want it you can see the call to fight hunger and disease in the colonies.Yes, and Kipling, and Gandhi and Churchill, and virtually any historical figure of the heyday of colonialism allowed himself to statements and actions that do not fit into the system of values of modern liberal world order and political correctness. Each of them can be found the phrase about the people of Africa and Asia, is unacceptable in modern society. But with this approach it is necessary to demolish the monuments of almost all the figures of bygone eras, including those who were canonized. Then you need campaign “Sedleniece” and not just Gandhi or Kipling.The fighters against “racism and colonialism” did not even notice how they turn themselves into those historical characters against whom struggle. Indicative in this sense, the article of Professor Faisal Devji, canadian citizen with Indian roots, specializing in the history of India. Debating the monuments to Gandhi, he recalled, how to protect from demolition the statue of Cecil Rhodes (so that more than all symbolizes British imperialism) at the University of Oxford. Devi writes: “In the course of this debate I have received in private support from many others who may have been uncomfortable to disclose their views on the racial issue, because they are white”.
It is mentioned in passing, as a matter of course. It turns out that the new “white man’s burden” now is that he is not entitled to openly Express their views on the issues associated with racism and the history of the country. When I hear dogmatic and aggressive young “anticolonialist” like Sara Khan impose new values and views of history inevitably think about the fact that they also decided to carry the “burden” of enlightening the dark mass of lost and defective people. And nothing in this sense is not different from Kipling’s, against whom they are fighting methods are much more aggressive than those that professed Gandhi. For example, the same Khan demanded to censor the student newspaper of the University to protect “sensitive reader” from the psychological discomfort.A comparison with “Stalinist censors” activists won’t care, they prepared for a tough defense of its values and imposing them on others. It is difficult to imagine what passions could lead to the opening of the monument to Gandhi in the capital of the British labour party in Manchester. Especially considering that the ceremony will take place in the midst of the election campaign, suddenly fell down on the British. And as the labour party rely on voter of Pakistani origin, it is possible that the students, protesting against the “racist” Gandhi, this time joined by parliamentarians.But wanted to promote peace and harmony in the society. But, as often happens, in the end began such a struggle for peace that not a stone will remain.Vladimir Kornilov