Today is the 96th birthday of late Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, the man whose altruistic contribution to eliminating the legacy of apartheid in South Africa will remain the time-honored legacy for generation to come, not for the citizens of SA, but for the whole world.If you ask me what personality aspect I like most from Mandela, it would be hard to tell, for the man was complete in all definition of humanity.
Today when we see people killing each other at the slightest provocation; when we watch them into futile embroilment of racial segregation/vituperation, institutionalizing poverty and inequality, and grotesquely fostering the horrible legacy of apartheid, when we see no semblance of racial reconciliation among the people born with same blood and bone, Nelson's altruism comes as an unthinkable serendipity.
Long time ago in a very small village of India's Gujarat city, a saint-like child was born - unbeknownst to the parent, country and the world what miracle that the infant would descend. Mahatma Gandhi as the child was known by the world later gave the world this divine lesson - "Non-violence is above all religion".
The ascetic friar whose renouncement of temporal luxuries paid off well to the oppressed, cursed and enslaved citizens that the nation enjoyed its unprecedented and impossible delight of freedom, something which remained the achievable dreams for the enslaved Indians for decades until the holy soul fought for it for them.
Indeed the comparison of both the great souls is foolhardy. Their appearance in the world, I guess, will be considered unthinkable by generation to come.
How far can we go to rescue a person in trouble? Can any of us go to an extent of saving entire nation even if spurred by the sudden instinctive urge? How many of us can actually live-in (not believe-in as everyone believes in something) the credo of philanthropy, especially when we are consciously aware of the veiled sufferings it would inflict on us?
The way we tend to resort passive resistance to everything evil happening around us, I don't think we have the required courage to fight for a good cause, tenaciously.
This Mandela, the Marxism-buff and anti-apartheid crusader, spent life's 27 years on Robben Island, was released in 1990 due to galvanized international pressures and became country's first black president from multiracial elections held in 1994.
He was controversialized as communal terrorist by certain malcontents, yet Madiba (clan name given to him by South Africans) remained throughout his life the most lovable figure in SA (often called as the father of the nation akin to Gandhi).
The notability of Mandela's personality that I am truly impressed with is his power of forgiveness. Take a look on this image-text:
I was unaware of this until I watched a movie, Invictus, which is based on the cameo aspect of the larger-than life of Mandela. It was really unbelievable to watch a man forgiving those responsible for his mockery, vilification and racial abuse in jail.
It was the culmination of forgiveness when he, without any hesitation, shook hands with whites, those responsible for insulting his family and throwing them out of their home.
Only someone with big heart like Mandela or Gandhi can have the immensity of forgiveness.
Not to forget that Mandela said it many a time that Gandhi inspired him more than anyone else during his struggle to anti-apartheid in SA.
Today, it is 96th (1918-2013) birthday of Mr. Mandela. I wish that the Lord Almighty may grant him the safest place in heaven to rest in peace. The legacy of truth and equality that he left behind us will remain invaluable and worth-inspiring. We would be a real unfortunate not to learn from these holy souls.
MAY PEACE AND TRUTH PREVAIL IN THE WORLD.
Note: The views expressed in the post are self-held of the writer.