Protesters tried shouting down a crowd of hundreds who turned out in a California park on Sunday to witness the unveiling of a bronze Mahatma Gandhi statue, FOX40 reported.
A few demonstrators used megaphones to shout that Gandhi was a “racist” as the “Gandhi Statue of Peace” was unveiled on what would have been Gandhi’s 147th birthday, The Sacramento Bee reported.
Gandhi, largely viewed as a symbol of peaceful resistance, is seen as paving the way for leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela. But some of the Davis protesters – many of whom were Sikh activists opposed to the Indian government – cast Gandhi in a far different light.
“They want you to believe, and they want Davis to believe, about this peaceful myth when Gandhi was really an agent for sexism, horrible bigotry,” Amar Shergill told FOX40. “And they just don’t want people in Davis to know about that. And we’re here to change that.”
One protester's sign read: “Gandhi was a child molester.”
Shergill said: “Today in India, minorities are being brutalized, raped murdered, assaulted and this statue attempts to obscure that truth.”
The statue was a gift from the Indian government and was installed and will be maintained through community donations, said Madhavi Sunder, who was on the committee that brought the statue to Davis.
Some of Gandhi’s more famous quotes are inscribed on the statue: “Be the change you want to see in the world”; “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind”; “There are many causes that I am prepared to die for but no cause that I am prepared to kill for.”
But the protesters focused on other aspects of Gandhi’s life, namely his treatment of South Africa’s blacks during his youth and his later practice of sleeping naked with his 18-year-old grandniece to test his vow of chastity.
“It’s like Bill Cosby, who was everybody’s hero – look at him now,” demonstrator Tej Maan told The Bee.