While Nelson Mandela has been compared to another apostle of peace, Mahatma Gandhi, there are some palpable differences between the two. Gandhiji’s satyagraha was respected to a great extent by the British as they believed in the concept of the rule of law. Mandela, who himself believed in peaceful methods, was a part of the African National Congress which did not believe in securing change by peaceful means — maybe with some justification. However, both were epoch-makers and saw the transformation, from shackled existence to freedom, take place in their lifetime.

Jayaprakash Kallurkatte, Mysore

I vividly remember reading a social studies chapter on Nelson Mandela in my childhood, but when I see the outpouring of grief all over the world over his passing, it only confirms my first impression of him that he was at least a million levels above us in terms of humanity and forgiveness. It is wrong to speak of the “death” of Mandela because such people never die. They live on in the hearts of the people. His great deeds immortalised him long ago.

N. Venkata Sai Praveen, Chennai

He was the guardian of his people, a man of vision, a freedom fighter who rejected violence. He set a personal example for his people in the long years he spent in prison. He was never arrogant. He worked to mend the tears in South African’s society and, with his character, managed to prevent outbursts of racial hatred. He will be remembered as the father of new South Africa and as an outstanding moral leader.

Babita Aggrawat, New Delhi

I once received a letter from the office of the Nelson Mandela Foundation in reply to my invitation to Mandela to visit my father’s residence in Thrissur when he came to India in 2003. Written by John Samuel, Chief Executive of the foundation, it said: “We acknowledge with gratitude receipt of your letter dated 04 July 2003 addressed to Mr. Mandela and apologise for the belated response to your correspondence. Please note that the contents of your letter have been noted.”

Vinayachandran K.T., Kochi

Keywords: Nelson Mandela

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