The controversy and criticism ofGandhiji’s statue and it’s solution: Hemantkumar Padhya

Mahatma GandhiThe controversy and criticism of Gandhiji’s statue and it’s solution. 

By: Hemantkumar Padhya                                    

The controversy and criticism erupted in British media and public after the announcement of a proposal of honouring Mahatma Gandhi  by William Hague and George Osborne  to erect  a memorial statue at Parliament Square in London is bound to be expected from all corners due to his so called ”experiments”, mistakes, biased opinions and arrogance. Whatever Dr Koosum Vadgama said in her article of 9th August 2014 published in ” The Times” is nothing but the truth revealed by Gandhiji himself in his autobiography and his magazines. Despite of immense efforts of Gandhi supporters and followers, this truth of shameful acts has been known to the people all over the world since many decades. Before arguing in support of Gandhiji for his bad behaviours, acts, conducts and wrong decision, one must realize that Gandhiji also believed in truth, non-violence and peace. How can anybody believing in his tenets and principles questions the truth told or admitted by Gandhiji himself?  Many comments supporting, endorsing and defending for the bad deeds of  Gandhiji published in many British and British Indian newspapers seems to be of the people of blind faith and followings who hypocritically try to forget and forgive Gandhiji for his shameful deeds as he is being a hero of Indian Independence.  . Their statements of defending and supporting Gandhiji are unethical, unrealistic and seem against the fundamental principle of  Satya (truth) of Gandhiji. The staunch and blind followers of Gandhiji must learn to accept and digest the truthful facts, which are disgusting, bad in taste for any culture happened during Gandhiji’s life time. Rather than rushing to cover up such facts without any ground and standings, they must also know that no one can hide his/her bad characters, bad acts and bad thoughts, bad deeds and mistakes under the shield of his/her greatness or some good deeds he/she performed in life. If some people have rights to praise the greatness of a person, they also have a right to condemn and criticize the same person for his/her wrong doings. Any greatness of a person would not wipe away the dirty spots of his/her sins or wrong doings of that person and same is absolutely true in the case of Gandhiji too, however we all have love and respect for Gandhiji for his contribution to Indian Independence Movement. I wonder those people who are defending and supporting Gandhiji’s statue at parliament square would ever dare to defend and suport any motion to erect a memorial statue of Jimmy Saville on moral ground?

 It is a misguided belief that the Indian independence was achieved only because of Gandhiji and Nehru. Everyone should understand and realize that the Independence of India is not achieved by the mere efforts of Gandhiji and Nehru or with non-violence movement only. It was a collective effort of many other great Indian freedom fighter revolutionaries and congress members. It is a shame that only two names of Gandhi and Nehru are politically credited and honoured for the cause of Indian Independence while others freedom fighters also, rendered no less service than Nehru or Gandhiji for the cause. Gandhiji has been granted honours by erecting several statutes in Britain so alternative personality of Indian Freedom Movement must be given an opportunity and priority  to be honoured. It seems strange when the great grandson of Gandhiji, Mr Tushar Gandhi, is objecting and expressing his disgust for the plan of erecting the statute of Gandhiji at Parliament Square on ethical and political grounds, while many people argue pointlessly to have Gandhiji’s statue at Parliament Square. It is an universal faith and belief to respect the wish of the relatives or descendent of the departed soul. So everyone should respect the wish of Tushar Gandhi, who is an activist and spokesperson of the Gandhi family and find the alternative personality to be honoured..      

The alternative suggestion of Mr Dada Bhai Narojaji by Dr Kusum Vadgama and some other people is also valid and welcoming but many other people would also like to suggest the Name of Pandit Shyamaji Krishnavarma instead of Gandhi and Naorojaji as they both belonged to the same group and ideology of congress. Pandit Shyamaji is more appropriate person to be honoured as his contribution to British political and life in his early part of his life as a tutor of Indian vernaculars to the British Officers to be posted in India, as a lecturer of Sanskrit at University of Oxford and as assistant to Professor Monier Williams and as a Divan (Prime Minister) of Princely States of Udaipur and Ratlam. Moreover, his contribution to Indian Freedom Movement was par-excellence as he was the first and foremost Indian Leader who propagated for the freedom of his motherland   almost twenty years before Gandhiji entered into the arena of Indian Freedom Movement.   In 1905, Pandit Shyamaji Krishnavarma lived in Highgate, London and started ‘Indian Home Rule Society’, opened ‘India House’ hostel for Indian students with the aim of inspiring them to fight for their motherland and published a newspaper called ‘The Indian Sociologist’. He almost fought for the cause for more than forty year and sacrificed his life and money  for the freedom of India. Pandit Shyamaji was the first Indian activist who was involved internationally for the freedom of other oppressed nations like Egypt, Iran, Ireland etc. and he provided a great inspiration and financial supports to many freedom activist of the world.
It is a shame that, even, the British politicians of Indian origin are unaware of his work or recognised his immense contribution he rendered to British as well as to the cause of the freedom of India and other oppressed countries of the world. Pandit Shyamaji Krishnavarma was the first Indian freedom activist who advocated to resolve the issue peacefully and non-violently with British and advised the Indians and British to part on amicable terms. This was almost fifteen years before Gandhiji entered into the political arena of Indian Freedom Movement. So Pandit Shyamaji Krishnavarma was the first person before Gandhiji to preach non-violence but he never ruled out to take up arms to retaliate for the cause if the oppressor used violent and inhumane tactics. Pandit Shyamaji Krishnavarma lived in England totally for sixteen years and he was very well known personality in British upper society as well as in government.  He had many friends from British elite class, high ranking British government officers, reformers and politicians.  

Pandit Shyamaji’s contribution to Indian Independence is no less than Gandhiji, If not more, and he deserves such honour from British Government for his courage, commitment, conviction and sacrifice he rendered to his motherland to fight for the rights of his and his countrymen on the doorstep of British Imperial power of those days.  Gandhiji had fair share of honours in Britain as his memorial statues are already erected in London and Leicester. So, the name of Pandit Shyamaji instead of Gandhiji for the erection of honouring statue at Parliament Square should be most welcomed  to avoid controversy and to justify the the honour to the most  deserving and rightful person, like Late Pandit Shyamaji Krishnavarma.

 Hemantkumar Padhya

Source: Via WHN Publisher