New Delhi: Left parties on Friday paid glowing tributes to Nelson Mandela, describing him as "a lofty symbol" of people struggling for freedom, democracy and human dignity, and said real homage could be paid only by struggling for a world free from injustice, discrimination and inequality.
"Mandela is a lofty symbol of not only the people of South Africa, whom he led in a long, arduous and bloody struggle for freedom against one of the most brutal, blatantly fascist regimes in the world, dyed in rabidly racist ideology of white supremacy, which perfected the system of racial segregation and oppression - apartheid," the CPI(M) Politburo said in a condolence message.
"He is a symbol of all the people of the world struggling for freedom, democracy and human dignity", apart from being the guiding force of freedom and anti-apartheid struggle, it said.
Noting that Mandela was assigned various leadership positions which he served with distinction, it said he was the Commander-in-Chief of the `Umkhonto We Sizwe`, the underground military wing of the ANC and a member of the South African Communist Party, where he served in the Central Committee.
It recalled that immediately after his release from prison after 27 long years, Mandela visited India and Kolkata where he was received by Chief Minister Jyoti Basu and accorded an unprecedented huge public reception. "The entire city of Calcutta rose in celebration to witness Mandela."
The CPI(M) sent its heartfelt condolences to Mandela`s family, ANC, South African Communist Party, Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and the people of South Africa.
The CPI also remembered Mandela for "his determined, battle political maturity, rare qualities of leadership which ultimately succeeded in ending the most inhuman and shameful practice of apartheid, closing the chapter white of minority rule in South Africa".