When Gandhi’s statue is removed in Ghana

We remember Gandhi’s concern with the liberation of Indians from colonial rule, as well as from the dark underside of our own personalities. We also remember that he failed to engage with the plight of Africans in a colonised South Africa, where he lived for 21 years. We know that he used disparaging language for Africans. For these and related reasons his statue was brought down by academics and students at the University of Ghana, Accra earlier this month. The act may be reversed, but it prompts a rethink. We have to recognise the flaws in Gandhi’s approach to Africa the way we recognise the Eurocentrism of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, the great 19th century German philosopher.Accepting that philosophy, religion and art took root in the Orient — Persia, China, Egypt and India — Hegel suggested that India, like China, is a phenomenon which is antique as well as modern: “It has always been the land of imaginative aspiration and appears to us still as a fairy region, an enchanted world. In contrast with the Chinese state, which presents only the most prosaic understanding, India is the region of phantasy and sensibility.” However, after explorers, missionaries, traders and commercial companies conquered India, and the exotic became the known and the mundane, continued Hegel in a series of lectures on the ‘philosophy of history’, it became clear that India had nothing to offer the world. He said India cannot teach the West; its tradition is a matter of the past; it has never reached the level of philosophy and science which is a genuinely and uniquely European achievement. The history of philosophy in India, concluded Hegel, is but the pre-history of Europe: India is stagnant, ripe for conquest.

Source Link : https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-opinion/when-gandhis-statue-is-removed-in-ghana/article25815912.ece

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