Authorities of the University of Ghana are living in fear of a possible theft of the statue of Indian freedom fighter barely three days after his signature spectacle was stolen by some unidentified people.
A source told that authorities have charged campus security to operate in the area of the Mohandas Gandhi statue to avoid further damage.

“The school officials feel embarrassed about what has happened to the statue and fear possible damage and theft if care is not taken,” the source said. The statue which was donated by the Indian High Commission to Ghana to the University of Ghana has been at the center of a brewing controversy for some time now.

A “Gandhi Must Fall” movement spearheaded by a former Director of the Institute of African Studies (IAS), Professor Akosua Adomako Ampofo, argues the statue of the man widely acclaimed for his doctrine of non-violence is undeserving to be mounted on campus because he was a racist.

The movement says “if there should be statues on our campus then they should first be African heroes and heroines, who can serve as examples of who we are and what we have achieved as a people.”

In a lengthy petition addressed to the University Council, the group cited remarks made by the Indian hero during his many battles against imperial regimes as proof of his racist past and the unmannered way he handled Africans.

A classical example was when the eminent leader of Indian independence movement said on December 19, 1894 that: “A general belief seems to prevail in the Colony that Indians are little better, if at all, than savages or the Natives of Africa.”

“Even the children are taught to believe in that manner, with the result that the Indian is being dragged down to the position of a raw Kaffir,” he continued.

Not wanting a university desirous of rising to the stature of world-class institutions to be tainted by a racist, Professor Ampofo cautioned the school authorities to do the noble thing by pulling down the statue.

She was emphatic that anything short of this suggestion made by the group would amount to a “slap in the face that undermines our struggles for autonomy, recognition and respect.”

However, just when the University Council was brooding over the group's petition, some unidentified people went to disfigure the statue, making away with Gandhi's signature spectacle bought in the United Kingdom while studying there in 1890s.

The pair of distinctive round-lensed spectacles represents a distinguishing feature of the father of the Indian Nation, known as Mahatma - a title meaning 'Great Soul.'

A campus security personnel had told Joy News he saw some people closed to the statue but he did not suspect some mischief. Ghana is not the first country that Gandhi's spectacle had been stolen whether as a protest to his past attitudes or on a normal theft spree adventure.

On October 2012 just a day before Indian's marked Gandhi Jayanti, a national festival celebrated in India to mark the occasion of the birthday of Mohandas Gandhi, his spectacle from a statue in Ralegan Siddhi a village in Western India was stolen.

Again in Indian on December 2013, a 28-year-old unemployed man, Kunal Vaidya, admitted stealing Gandhi's spectacle from Sevagram Ashram museum in Maharashtra's Wardha three years back.

Sources said Mr Vaidya did not actually steal the spectacle but that when had tampered with the lock of the box in which the specs were kept it fell off and when he picked up the antique piece somebody entered the museum. Afraid that he might be accused of theft, Vaidya pocket the spectacle.

Museum officials realised the theft three days after the incident in November 2010, but could only report it to police several months later on June 13, 2011.
* Source: myjoyonline. com


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