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Gandhi Scholar to Discuss Racism at UM-Flint

FLINT, Michigan, Nov. 15, 2010 – Gandhi expert Col. G. B. Singh (U.S. Army, ret.) will visit the UM-Flint campus on Monday, December 6 for a discussion about allegedly racist behavior of Indian leader Mohandas Gandhi. The event was organized by Organization for Minorities of India and Ambedkar Association of North America (AANA) in cooperation with UM-Flint’s Diversity Council and University Relations. Singh will speak at 5 p.m. in the university’s Loving Cultural Lounge.

The event is the result of protests against the October 2 installation of a bronze Gandhi statue on the UM-Flint campus. Indian Minorities, Other Backward Castes (OBC), and Dalits, once known as Untouchables and considered the lowest rung of the Hindu caste system, described Gandhi as a racist person. Accusing him of racially suppressing blacks in South Africa and promoting the caste system, AANA and other groups demanded removal of his statue.

In response, UM-Flint agreed to let those opposed to Gandhi tell their side of the story. Col. G. B. Singh (U.S. Army, ret.), the country’s leading expert on critical study of Mohandas Gandhi, will keynote the December dialogue. Singh has spent over 27 years studying Gandhi, with a particular emphasis on the Indian leader’s prejudices against minorities.

Singh’s most recent work is Gandhi Under Cross-Examination (Sovereign Star, 2009), which investigates Gandhi’s claim to have been thrown off a South African train for refusing to give up his first-class seat to a white man. The book also delves into Gandhi’s adverse relationship with indigenous South Africans, his participation in a war to suppress them and other issues regarding his unsavory treatment of various minority communities. His earlier book, Gandhi: Behind the Mask of Divinity (Prometheus, 2004), first brought the issue of Gandhi’s overarching racism into public discussion.