On the auspicious occasion of 104th birth anniversary of Nelson Mandela, Gandhi Mandela Foundation in collaboration with Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti organized the Nelson Mandela Day to mark his legacy on 18th July 2022 at Kriti Mandap, Gandhi Smriti & Darshan Samiti, 5, Tees January Marg, New Delhi.
Eminent personalities who graced the occasion included Hon’ble Justice KG Balakrishnan (Chief-Advisor & Jury Chairman, GMF), Justice Gyan Sudha Mishra (Advisor & Jury member, GMF), Acharya Dr Lokesh Muni Ji (Vice-Chairman, GMF), Vijay Goel (Hon’ble Vice-Chairman, Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti), Gajendra Singh Shekhawat (Union Cabinet Minister) and Dr Syed Zafar Islam (Ex-MP, Rajya Sabha).
The event started with lightning of lamps by the dignitaries present on the Dias. The speakers shared their valuable thoughts about Nelson Mandela and how his principles are important in everyone’s life as well as how this global saint inspired everyone to work for the humanity.
Mr Nandan Jha, Secretary-General of Gandhi Mandela Foundation said that it is a very special occasion that we have gathered today to celebrate the legacy of Nelson Mandela and we are very proud of this fact. “I welcome you all to the beautiful function. Today, when life is so busy, you all have devoted your crucial time to come here and I am very thankful for that. This is a very historical place where we have gathered. It is no less than a temple because it has so many memories attached with Gandhiji”, he added.
“Nelson Mandela was a true Gandhian and believed in the principles of Mahatma Gandhi. He had a special bonding with India. It is a huge honour for all of us that during Nelson Mandela’s first visit to India soon after his release from Jail on 16 February 1990, Gandhi Mandela Foundation Vice-Chairman Dr Savita Singh who has been the director of Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti accompanied Mandela through his entire visit and she convinced Mandela to visit Champaran and Porbandar. Mandela wanted to visit both these places but because he was unwell, he asked two of his friends Mebaram Govind and Ahmed Kathrada to visit the two places”, her further added.
Vijay Goel, Hon’ble Vice-Chairman, Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti stressed on the fact that how Gandhi and Mandela’s principles in or life and how PM Modi took their initiatives forward. “This is a great initiative by Nandan Jha ji for organizing such a good event. Gandhi ji was so simple and his principles were non-violence, peace and cleanliness. It is Narendra Modi who succeeded in bringing the principles of Gandhi ji to life. His initiatives like Swach Bharat and making India open-defecation free are a tribute to Gandhi ji. I want to again thank Nandan ji for organizing such a beautiful event. I want say that let us try to follow at least one of the principles of Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela,” he added.
Justice KG Balakrishnan said that this place is truly historical place as it reminds us to the struggles and life of Mahatma Gandhi. “There is so much about this place which reminds of Mahatma Gandhi’s great life and Mandela also how he suffered during the era of white rule in South Africa and then came out victorious with his approach. So now we believe that organization can take care of this place after the covid situation is over. It is time that we teach the younger generations the principles of Mahatma Gandhi for their better future”, he added.
Acharya Lokesh Muni ji in his speech emphasized on the fact that it is important to teach the youngsters the knowledge of peace education then only the principles of Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandel can truly be significant. “Baat Saral Baliadaan kathin hai, Patan sahaj utthan kathin hai, gaata hai khandhar ka har paththar dhwans saral nirman kathin hai. Although there are millions of people who take birth daily but the life is truly meaningful of those people who create a history and Mandela has created history that’s why he is a special man. Mandela used to say that Mahatma Gandhi is my idol and Gandhi used to say that Shrimad Rajchandra is my guru and I have learnt everything from him. Today it is the requirement of the world to abopt non-violence ideologies of Nelson Mandela because the way things are going on around the world it is important to follow non-violence and peace. Even a country like America is facing the problem of gun violence which is huge. But when I recently met Joe Biden during an event, I said that it is important to teach the methods of non-violence and peace in the education system, he added.”
Justice Gyan Sidha Misra echoed the sentiments of all other speakers and said that it is time we focus more on working for the society. “It is important to work above the party and think about the country and support the decisions which are in favour of the country. May be there can be different opinions of different people but we need to understand what is good for the country, she added.”
Syed Zafar Islam, Ex-Rajya Sabha MP said that it is time we understand the importance of these two icons of peace. “Mandela’s contribution to humanity is unparalleled, somebody who was a great fighter, somebody who lived in reconciliation and peace. His struggle was very difficult. Gandhi and Mandela had many things in common. Both of them started movements against Colonial rule. Mandela was jailed for 27 years but that didn’t change him as a person. He believed in equality. Even after Colonial rule was gone, he didn’t have any problem with prior rulers. That was his greatness. South Africa has given to the world two icons of peace- Gandhi and Mandela”, he added.
Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat said that it is a great occasion today as one of the world’s greatest freedom fighters was born on the day. “His ideologies and principles have made him what he is today. Mandela idolized Gandhi, who was the true torch-bearer of non-violence. Gandhi ji had been a huge inspiration for Mandela and today our government has worked towards creating the initiatives started by Mahatma Gandhi. It is important that these initiatives will soon be accomplished. Then only it will be a great tribute to Gandhi and Mandela”, he added.
The Gandhi Mandela Foundation, a Govt. of India registered trust which promotes individual freedom, civil liberties, and human rights across the globe celebrates the birth anniversary of the great man every year, in order to carry forward the legacy of Mandela and remember the great sacrifices he made for the humanity. His life was a message for the humanity and to spread his message the Mandela Day is organized. The headquarter of the foundation is situated at New Delhi, India and Global presence include America, Africa, Russia, London, Switzerland, China, Nepal and Bangladesh.
The Foundation instituted the Gandhi Mandela Awards, which is recognized as one of the world’s most prestigious awards, during the 150th birth anniversary of Gandhiji to celebrate those who have carried forward the legacies of Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela.