Thursday, July 10, 2014

Sikhs (UK): Gandhi 'racist', 'sexual weirdo'

The reaction you can expect when a minority community has been denied justice by the uncaring majority. The Sikhs have waited patiently for a long 30 years...enough is enough.

There is also that subtle fear of being subsumed by the Hindu majority sooner or later.

That said it is ironic that the Sikh political leadership in Punjab is represented in the main by the Badal family (patriarch: Parkash Singh Badal) and is allied with the BJP. Thus you have the conservative groupings (Hindus and Sikhs) allying against (not-so-conservative) Hindus and Sikhs represented by the Congress. This bipolar state of affairs has changed dramatically with the arrival of the Aam Admi Party  which allied with an extreme Sikh organization- Dal Khalsa (another Hindu-Sikh alliance).

So it matters not much, how you cut the sacred goat, the situation in the Punjab is (thankfully) not Hindu vs. Sikh (more like Punjabis vs. troublemakers seated in Delhi). 

Coming back to accusations against Gandhi, Sikhs are quite conscious of (and are divided by) caste and sect even though  the religion forbids it. Also, racism is endemic to all of India and Sikhs can hardly claim any superiority on that account. Finally, the Panth is not known to be very comfortable with "sexual deviancy" as has been attested in person by gay Sikhs (neither are any of the other religious groups).They need to upgrade the soft-ware.

It is clear that statue or not, the memory of Gandhi will continue to be honored in Britain and in the West. Not the (perhaps equally deserving) leader(s) of the Muslims, Tamils and Dalits and many others. Gandhi was the (self-described) role model of Martin Luther King (junior) and Nelson Mandela. The Gandhi brand is uniquely strong (aided in part by the Gujarati bio-sphere) and it is too late for the partisans to change that.
Sikhs in UK have announced a massive campaign to oppose Britain's plan to build a statue of Mahatma Gandhi at London's Parliament Square. The Sikh Federation (UK) has written to Britain's culture secretary Sajid Javid who is leading the project.

Bhai Amrik Singh, chair of the Sikh Federation in his letter to Javid called Gandhi "a blatant racist, a sexual weirdo or worse a child abuser and someone discriminating on the basis of the Hindu caste system, which is now outlawed in the UK".
Singh said "it would therefore be totally inappropriate to have a statue of Gandhi erected in Parliament Square".

The Federation has also written to Philip Jackson, the British sculptor who has been approached by the British government to begin work on Gandhi's statue asking him to boycott the project.

The Federation is also writing to anti-racists groups, campaign groups opposed to paedophilia and organisations that have been working in the UK to have caste discrimination outlawed in the UK.

They are being urged to unite to oppose the statue and write to all UK politicians that support their causes "highlighting the other side to Gandhi's life that many choose to turn a blind eye".

The plan to have a Gandhi statue at Parliament Square in London was announced by British foreign secretary William Hague and Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne on Tuesday.

They intend to have the monument in place early next year. Once installed, the statue will provide a focal point for commemoration next summer of the 100th anniversary of Gandhi's return to India from South Africa to start the struggle for self-rule, as well as the passing of 70 years since his death in 2018, and the 150th anniversary of his birth in 2019".

The memorial will stand alongside those to other international leaders such as Nelson Mandela and Abraham Lincoln.

Hague said "Gandhi's view of communal peace and resistance to division, his desire to drive India forward, and his commitment to non-violence left a legacy that is as relevant today as it was during his life. He remains a towering inspiration and a source of strength. We will honour him with a statue alongside those of other great leaders in Parliament Square".

Osborne added "As the father of the largest democracy in the world, it's time for Gandhi to take his place in front of the mother of Parliaments. He is a figure of inspiration, not just in Britain and India, but around the world. New Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi invoked his memory in his inaugural speech to Parliament. I hope this new memorial will be a lasting and fitting tribute to his memory in Britain, and a permanent monument to our friendship with India".

The Gandhi statue will be the 11th statue to be erected in Parliament square.




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