Mahatma Gandhi’s Statue Vandalized in Honolulu
Los Angeles, Sep 06, 2023
NRIpress.club/Ramesh/ A.Gary Singh
Throughout the world, Mahatma Gandhi is regarded as an advocate of nonviolence, and peaceful resolution of social and political violence. As a result, his life and work are memorialized, often in statues which evoke his 250-mile walk, joined by millions of Indians, and in spirit by millions throughout the world, in a protest against a British salt tax that fell most heavily on the poor, a walk that destroyed the morale, the basis of British rule in South Asia. Thereafter, Gandhi later came to be revered as a teacher, and later taken as a model of nonviolent civil disobedience by Martin Luther King, Jr., South Africa’s Bishop Desmond Tutu and many others.
On August 8th 2023, it was discovered that one such statue of Gandhi in Waikiki had been knocked from its pedestal. In a matter of days, it was found that such statues were similarly vandalized in New York City, San Francisco, Washington DC and in other cities around the world. Such destructive acts are not in harmony with the spirit of Aloha in our Hawaiian community. While the City of Honolulu quickly mobilized to begin the restoration of the statue here, Gandhi International Institute for Peace (GIIP) and its allied organizations pressed for an investigation of the cause of this attack, which appeared in a report on Channel KITV 4 on August 25, 2023. As a result of expressions by local and national concerns, the Federal Bureau of Investigation took up the Waikiki case as one of domestic terrorism. Through its offices, and law enforcement in the United States, and in Canada, some of those who were engaged in these activities in North America were arrested.
As the investigation is ongoing, rumors have circulated in place of known facts, that a pro-Khalistan separatist movement in India, possibly misled by confusing Mahatma Gandhi with former Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi, (no relation), much hated by this movement for her policies, is responsible for these attacks. Social media has taken up the subject, and, as might be expected, there has been an outpouring of grief along with old accusations against Mahatma Gandhi, many which originated in British propaganda. He warned his supporters that he was not a saint, a burden Martin Luther King, Jr. also had to carry. Notably, they were both assassinated in spite of their selfless humanitarian work, though social media commentary rarely encourages deep understanding. In fact, the Mahatma Gandhi statue symbolizes equality, peace, liberty and justice.
More information will soon be available about these local and national events, hopefully before Sunday, October 1, when the GIIP will conduct its 18th annual observation of Gandhi’s birthday with locals (including interfaith leaders, Indian Americans, Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders) and international friends of nonviolence and peace at the statue. This observance will be held from 10:00 am to noon outside of Honolulu Zoo, where, failing the timely renewal of the statue, a large photograph will stand instead. This observance has in recent years, been filmed and streamed globally, with the past three year’s observance available at the GIIP website: www.gandhianpeace.org
This observance is usually well attended at the site, but it offers an opportunity for all who wish to gather, and show their solidarity against the suffering and violence of our age. For further information, please contact the Founder of GIIP, Dr. Raj Kumar, at email@example.com