Mahatma Gandhi, an anti-colonial nationalist and political ethicist, was widely known as an inspiration to movements for civil rights and freedom across the world. His form of protest inspired Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King Jr. Aside from that, his form of protest laid the foundation for several parts of Africa and Asia to strive for independence. However, not everyone liked him.
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For so long, Hindu-nationalists have despised Gandhi, who was considered the father of the modern Indian state. In fact, they built statues to Nathuram Godse, his killer, in various parts of the country. The influence has been quite strong since Hindus comprise the country’s majority at around 80 percent. Meanwhile, Muslims constitute 14 percent of the nation’s population. Nonetheless, Gandhi is still deeply honored in India.
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According to an article by All That’s Interesting, a site for curious people who want to know more about what they see on the news or read in history books, Gandhi’s ashes were dispersed around the country to various memorials after his death. Since then, his memorials have been defaced and even decapitated. In this particular incident, police have registered a case alleging “imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration” and “intentional insult with an intent to provoke the breach of peace.”
|Photo Credit: All That's Interesting|
Once again, a memorial for Gandhi was vandalized on what would have been his 150th birthday. It was believed that it was an inside job since there was no evidence of forced entry. Aside from that, it is unclear whether the urn containing his ashes was looted or simply moved elsewhere years ago.
Ram Kirti Sharma, an activist with the Indian National Congress, expressed how the incident has left him viscerally distraught. He feels that people are killing Gandhi’s ideas. “I just couldn’t believe my eyes. This can only happen in today’s India. It is sad, I feel disgusted, angry, but also frightened,” he said.