Gandhi branded racist as Johannesburg honours freedom fighter. It was supposed to honour his resistance to racism in South Africa, but a new statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Johannesburg has triggered a row over his alleged contempt for black people.
The 2.5 metre high (8ft) bronze statue depicting Gandhi as a dashing young human rights lawyer has been welcomed by Nelson Mandela, among others, for recognising the Indian who launched the fight against white minority rule at the turn of the last century. But critics have attacked the gesture for overlooking racist statements attributed to Gandhi, which suggest he viewed black people as lazy savages who were barely human.
Newspapers continue to publish letters from indignant readers: "Gandhi had no love for Africans. To [him], Africans were no better than the 'Untouchables' of India," said a correspondent to The Citizen. Others are harsher, claiming the civil rights icon "hated" black people and ignored their suffering at the hands of colonial masters while championing the cause of Indians. Gandhi in South Africa: timeline. 1893 Arrives in Durban and is kicked off train in Pietermaritzburg after refusing to move out of the first-class carriage because he is a "non-white" passenger. 1894 Becomes first honorary secretary of the newly formed Natal Indian Congress. 1899 Leaves for the front with Ambulance Corps during the Boer war. 1903 Starts a law practice in Johannesburg and is enrolled as an attorney of the supreme court of the Transvaal. 1903 Founds the newspaper Indian Opinion. 1904 Assists with the nursing of patients during the outbreak of bubonic plague in the "Coolie Location".
Gandhi and South Africa. Why was Joseph Lelyveld’s history of Gandhi’s years in South Africa attacked by India’s Hindu right?
At the end of March, the Indian state of Gujarat banned the printing and distribution of Joseph Lelyveld’s Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle With India. The ban was proposed by the state’s chief minister, Narendra Modi, and it passed unanimously, as leaders of the Congress party vied to surpass Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in denouncing Lelyveld’s new book. The focus of the uproar was a claim made by Britain’s Daily Mail and, somewhat more subtly, by the Wall Street Journal, that Great Soul portrays Gandhi as a bisexual or homosexual. The headline in the Daily Mail blared: Gandhi “Left His Wife to Live With a Male Lover” New Book Claims. Afrique du Sud : Méditer dans la maison de Gandhi.