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Saturday, December 7, 2013

Nelson Mandela (1918—2013): Our Gandhi No More!



We, talking about our generation specifically, grew up with the history of Mahatma Gandhi—how he made India independent through complete non-violence a movement based on truth and how the greatest Indian leader of all time was assassinated on the fateful day of 30th January, 1948. We grew up with Nelson Mandela hearing about his movement against the racist policy of Apartheid in South Africa based on the same Gandhian ideals, later watching him go about his noble ways and hearing his inspirational speeches—in India and everywhere. How he finally won like Mahatma Gandhi ending Apartheid and becoming the first black President of South Africa in 1994. He has been our Gandhi live and heart wrenchingly we lost him on Thursday evening, the 5th of December, 2013—losing a continuous source of leadership, indomitable spirit and inspiration. Of course, we knew that he had not been keeping well for the last few months being in and out of the ICU, and that he had reached the ripe age of 95. But you never actually want to lose anything that is good and lastingly good.

The world became one in paying tributes to Nelson Mandela, the Nobel Peace Prize winner, in the deepest spontaneous respect and admiration. As the news hit India early morning on Friday it became the top story in all media channels and in all the newspapers today. His rousing speeches earlier recorded in India went on air. The Indian Parliament on Friday adjourned for the week paying tributes to Mandela. The Government of India announced five-day state mourning with all top dignitaries and leaders giving moving condolence messages. Nelson Mandela has been as relevant for India as for South Africa and the world. We salute the great leader for humanity and justice.

The same night on Thursday mighty Team India fell in tatters losing the first one day international cricket match in Johannesburg against the hosts South Africa by a shattering 141 runs. India won the toss, had the first opportunity to use the fresh track and also avoided the possibility of the dew factor later in the night. But the Indian bowlers failed the team miserably as the top South Africa order fired relentlessly to set an almost impossible target of 359 runs for India. There were explosive knocks by HM Amla (65), Quinton de Kock (a brilliant century of 135 off just 121 balls), AB de Villiers (77 off just 47) and JP Dumini (59 not out off just 29 balls). Such was the domination of South Africa batting and poor Indian bowling that the Indian fielders started losing heart and mission opportunities. In the forgettable Indian chase there was just one half century by captain Dhoni who managed only to prolong the misery.

In fact there was some uncertainty about the India-South Africa cricket Series going further. As some of the match dates clashed with prayers and homage programmes of Nelson Mandela Cricket South Africa (CSA) sought the advice of the government regarding the future of the Series. However, after supposed consultations CSA confirmed last night that the Series as well as most sporting events would go on as scheduled.
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