The Samiti paid rich tributes to the icon of peace and non-violence Shri Nelson Mandela on his 100th birth anniversary on July 18, 2018, in Gandhi Darshan. Prof. N Radhakrishnan, eminent Gandhian and former Director GSDS was the key speaker on the occasion. About 70 people took part in the programme.
Remembering Madiba as Nelson Mandela (1918-2018), Prof. Radhakrishnan said that the year 2018 marks the centenary of the birth of this messiah of peace. He said that 2018-19 provides a unique opportunity for people around the world to reflect on his life and times and promote his legacy.
Speaking about the legacy of Nelson Mandela, Prof. Radhakrishnan said that Madiba was an ardent follower of Mahatma Gandhi, but not initially. Calling him an “Exceptional peaceful revolutionary”, who was not deterred by the 25 years of life under imprisonment, Prof. Radhakrishnan said that Madiba’s life created an impact both locally and globally, for he belongs to the whole world. “We are saluting one of the most outstanding revolutionaries and patriots of the world today”.
Shri S A Jamal, Administrative Officer and Smt. Geeta Shukla, Research Officer, GSDS recollected their moments when they spent time with Nelson Mandela when he came to India and then Gandhi Smriti after his release from prison.
Sharing her sentiments, Smt. Geeta Shukla said, “Madiba first visited India in 1990 when he was released from jail after more than 25 years for leading the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa. India was his first destination abroad after spending those years in jail. Mandela was conferred the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honor, in this year”.
Shri S A Jamal said that he visited Gandhi Smriti thrice and spent a few moments all alone in Mahatma Gandhi’s room.
Earlier Dr. Vedabhyas Kundu welcomed the gathering and updated them about the life and philosophy of Nelson Mandela and how Mahatma Gandhi’s life’s philosophy inspired him.
Ms. Tania Arora presently an intern at Gandhi Smriti and studying at the Nelson Mandela Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at Jamia Milia Islamia briefed the gathering about her academic course and also reflected on the address of the former President of United States of America, Mr. Barack Obama while delivering the 2018 “Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture”.
Known and loved around the world for his commitment to peace, negotiation and reconciliation, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was South Africa’s first democratically elected president (1994 to 1999). An anti-apartheid revolutionary and political leader and a philanthropist with an abiding love for children Nelson Mandela was born into the Xhosa royal family on 18 July 1918 and died on 5 December 2013.