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Protesters vandalize Mahatma Gandhi statue in South Africa, label him ‘Racist’

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By Newsgram Staff Writer

A group of people defaced a statue of Mahatma Gandhi in South Africa by throwing buckets of white paint on it. The protesters also ranted slogans of racism against the iconic freedom fighter, a newspaper report said.

According to security guard Ntandzo Kwepe the incident occurred yesterday when a group wearing African National Congress regalia came in a car at about noon and threw buckets of white paint on the statue and surrounding plaques detailing Mahatma Gandhi’s history in South Africa.

“They said we would not stop them because Gandhi was a racist man,” Khwepe said, and added that the protesters bore placards saying, “Racist Gandhi must fall.”

As the group tried to flee, one person was nabbed, though he remained nonchalant about it saying his political bosses would rescue him. Police spokesman Kay Makhubela said he would be charged with malicious damage to property.

The statue in the center of the city is unique as it is believed to be the only one in the world showing Gandhi clad in his court robes as a young lawyer.

The statue is on a public transport hub square which was renamed Gandhi Square because the offices in which he practiced law during his stay in the city is on the periphery of the square.

Ironically, the incident took place on the same day  Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled a statue of the iconic leader, who is widely revered across the globe, in Germany.

ANC spokesman Keith Khoza condemned the incident and denied the ruling party’s involvement, saying that they could have been posing as ANC members to discredit the party.

Since the first democratic elections in 1994, a number of statues of Gandhi have been erected across South Africa.

One is at the at the railway station in Pietermaritzburg, where he was kicked off a train compartment reserved for whites, prompting the start of his Satyagraha movement in South Africa and later in India.

Former President of India, Pratibha Patil had also unveiled a bust of Gandhi and a permanent exhibition of his time in South Africa at Constitutional Hill  in Johannesburg, the seat of the country’s highest court.

There have been shouts of racism against Gandhi by black youth groups in recent months for the alleged use of the derogatory term kaffir, for indigenous blacks in his writings.

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Mahatma Gandhi is Still Alive on The Big Screen

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, fondly known as Mahatma Gandhi, breathed his last on January 30, 1948

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Mahatma Gandhi, Gandhi, movies, screens, TV
British actor Ben Kingsley's portrayal of Mahatma Gandhi in Richard Attenborough's 1982 Oscar-winning film "Gandhi" is one that is etched on everyone's minds. Wikimedia Commons

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, fondly known as Mahatma Gandhi, breathed his last on January 30, 1948, but he has been brought alive on the big screen several times.

As India is all set to celebrate 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, we take a look at actors who essayed the role of Gandhi with elan.

BEN KINGSLEY in “Gandhi” (1982)

British actor Ben Kingsley’s portrayal of Mahatma Gandhi in Richard Attenborough’s 1982 Oscar-winning film “Gandhi” is one that is etched on everyone’s minds.

NASEERUDDIN SHAH in “Hey Ram” (2000)

The Kamal Haasan-starrer film revolved around India’s Partition and the assassination of Gandhi by Nathuram Godse. Interestingly, Naseeruddin had auditioned for the role of Gandhi in Attenborough’s film. The role eventually went to Kingsley. Naseeruddin’s Gandhi in “Hey Ram” didn’t received the acclaim that Kingsley’s effort did, but he was praised for nailing the act and getting the Gujarati accent right.

JS CASHYAP in “Nine Hours To Rama” (1963)

Mark Robson’s English language film is about the nine hours of Nathuram Godse’s life before he assassinated Gandhi. Goidse was essaywed by German actor Horst Buchholz.

ANNU KAPOOR in “Sardar” (1993)

The Ketan Mehta film on Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel had Annu Kapoor stepping into the shoes of Gandhi. Apart from playing the great Indian leader on the big screen, Annu also lent his voice as narrator to “Khaar” — a docudrama on Gandhi’s Dandi March.

“The Dandi March initiated by Gandhiji was an iconic movement against the British and a milestone in India’s movement for freedom,” Annu said last year.

RAJIT KAPUR in “The Making Of The Mahatma” (1996)

Kapur, popular for playing the Bengali detective Byomkesh Bakshi on television, played Gandhi in Shyam Benegal’s “The Making of The Mahatma”. His role in the film, fetched him a National Film Award as Best Actor.

Mahatma Gandhi, Gandhi, movies, screens, TV
As India is all set to celebrate 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, we take a look at actors who essayed the role of Gandhi with elan. Wikimedia Commons

MOHAN GOKHALE in “Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar” (2000)

The film didn’t center around him but he managed to make his presence felt in the movie on BR Ambedkar, known mainly for helping the the downtrodden and oppressed classes in India.

DARSHAN JARIWALA IN “Gandhi, My Father” (2007)

His performance in the critically-acclaimed film was lauded by many, including the Indian government that honoured him with a National Award for his effort. “‘Gandhi, My Father’ happened in a curious way. Feroz Abbas Khan (director) had approached me for Gandhi’s role in his famous play ‘Mahatma v/s Gandhi’. I was his first choice. Unfortunately, I was preoccupied with other business interests then, and it was my misfortune that I couldn’t do it. So here I am, playing Gandhi in his directorial debut,” Darshan had said in an interview.

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DILIP PRABHAWALKAR in “Lage Raho Munna Bhai” (2006)

The Sanjay Dutt-starrer was probably one of the most commercial Bollywood films to feature. The film wasn’t just about the great leader but his teachings were highlighted well in the comedy-drama by filmmaker Rajkumar Hirani. It showed why Gandhi continues to be relevant even today. Dilip was also honoured with a National Film Award for Best Supporting Actor for his act in the blockbuster.

SURENDRA RAJAN in “The Legend Of Bhagat Singh” (2002); “Veer Savarkar” (2001); “Bose: The Forgotten Hero” (2004)

Few know, but Rajan is the actor to have essayed the Mahatma the maximum number of times. the Bollywood character actor may not be a known face in Hindi films, but his roles as Gandhi in “The Legend Of Bhagat Singh”, Veer Savarkar”, and “Bose” have become his calling cards.

SRIKANTH in “Mahatma” (2009 Telugu film)

The film was about a hooligan whose life sees transformation after he gets to know of Gandhism by chance. Actor Srikanth essyaed the role of the Mahatma. (IANS)