The Coalition of Hindus of North America (CoHNA) condemned the gross vandalism of the iconic statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Washington, DC, in the wake of America-wide protests following the murder of George Floyd. The statue was desecrated with spray paint and graffiti by unidentified suspects last week.
The US State Department, along with Ken Juster, the US Ambassador to India, have apologized and condemned this appalling act. CoHNA called for swift action against the perpetrators and for the US Government to help restore the statue to its original glory. Such acts of bigotry and racism have no place in today’s society.
“The attack on Mahatma Gandhi’s statue is particularly reprehensible, since it was his philosophy of non-violence and satyagraha, derived from key Hindu teachings, that had a profound impact on civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,” remarked Nikunj Trivedi, president of CoHNA. “He used some of these strategies during the civil rights movement.” Dr. King also believed that the Gandhian approach of nonviolent resistance would help bring about a solution to racial discrimination in the United States.
During his visit to India in 2018, former president Barack Obama, had declared: “I am greatly influenced by a man from your nation whose message of love and justice shows us the way ahead. Just as he (Gandhi) summoned Indians to seek their destiny, he influenced champions of equality in my own country including Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. King called Gandhi’s philosophy of non-violence and resistance as the only logical and moral approach in the struggle for justice and progress.”
These words could not be more applicable today as we see widespread protests seeking an end to inequality and racial discrimination and demanding justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and so many more. Yet, these protests are hijacked by certain elements looking to create chaos or push their political agenda.
What’s even more disturbing is that some organizations are celebrating such acts of vandalism, arson, looting and violence as justifiable forms of protest. In an environment where tensions are high and inflammatory statements can fan flames of violence, such open endorsements exacerbate Hinduphobia and make Hindus susceptible to verbal and physical attacks.
Installed in 2000, the statue has been a symbol of pride, cultural heritage and history for the Hindu American community as well as the broader Indian American community. Many world-renowned leaders have paid their respects to Gandhi at this site and have been inspired by his life and message.
(Statement released by Coalition of Hindus of North America (CoHNA))
CoHNA is a grassroots level advocacy organization dedicated to improving the understanding of Hinduism and India in North America by working on matters related to the Hindu community and by educating the public about Hindu heritage and tradition. For more information, please visit www.cohna.org or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/cohnaofficial or Facebook at www.facebook.com/cohnaofficial.
(Featured image: Dailyhunt)
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