The Volokh Conspiracy
Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent
In Washington (The Hindu):
The statue, which is across the road from the Indian Embassy, was vandalised with graffiti and spray painting on Wednesday, prompting the mission to register a complaint with the local law enforcement agencies….
The incident is reported to have taken place on the intervening night of June 2 and 3, officials said.
In London (Times of India):
Several Indian diaspora members took to social media to express their hurt and anger at the statue of Mahatma Gandhi at Parliament Square in London being targeted by Black Lives Matter protesters, with the word "racist" imprinted on the steps below the plinth.
Gandhi, as I understand it, indeed said quite a few racist things, and indeed his work on behalf of Indians in South Africa was apparently often supportive of repression of blacks (see this BBC story). But of course he was a man of his time, flawed and partly blinded the way all people are. Who in the past fully lives up to our moral norms of today? How many of us today will be seen a century hence as living up to the moral norms of the future?
That actually is good reason not to try to sanctify Gandhi, or any man (consider also the Churchill statue incident)—but not a good reason to vandalize statues of him, or reject his historical importance.
Great people are great not because they are perfect (and indeed many people who are closer to perfect aren't great). They are great because they have accomplished great things, usually things that have on balance helped humanity—often including ourselves—in important ways. We should pay respect to their greatness, and to what they've done for all of us, despite the errors that they had inevitably made.