New Delhi: Anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela`s 94th birthday was celebrated in the capital on Wednesday at the Rajghat where people from all walks of society praised the South African leader and recalled his fight for rights of his countrymen.
Rajghat -- Mahatma Gandhi`s samadhi -- reverberated with references to Mandela and his struggle to remove apartheid from the South African society and how the father of the nation inspired him in his non-violent struggle.
The event organised by the South African High Commission in collaboration with Sun Foundation saw children from schools in the capital take the stage for cultural performances.
"It was not a coincidence that we chose Raj Ghat as our place of gathering today. As I always say while Nelson Mandela is the father of South Africa, Mahatma Gandhi is our grandfather," Rev Harris Majeke, High Commissioner of South Africa to India, said.
Delhi Industries Minister Ramakant Goswami said Mandela`s "retirement from retirement" approach is "wonderful" and appreciated the latter`s resistance to racial discrimination that "has given the whole world a new message.
"Mandela is held in high esteem in our country and I am thankful to have been part of this celebration."
Advocating for making "Mandela an Indian hero", Mahatma Gandhi`s grandson Rajmohan Gandhi, a philanthropist, reminisced accompanying Mandela to Agra and Kolkata where he saw him "transform from a compassionate Mandela to a commanding Mandela" under different situations.
"Many Africans regard Gandhi as South African... Just as Gandhi has been made a South African, I would like India to embrace Mandela and make Mandela an Indian hero", he said.
He called both Gandhi and Mandela "passionate fighters for justice and reconciliation" adding that Mandela`s birthday being celebrated at 1,000 places on the planet simultaneously is a great achievement.
Earlier, a `Motor Bikers for Mandela` ride was organised from the High Commission to Rajghat.