Sonia Gandhi mourns Nelson Mandela`s death as loss of `beloved father`
Congress president Sonia Gandhi paid tribute to anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela and said that he redefined the meaning of courage and sacrifice.
New Delhi: Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on Friday paid tributes to Nelson Mandela, saying the anti-apartheid icon redefined the meaning of courage, sacrifice and forgiveness and his death is like losing "a beloved father".
"Today, I join millions of Indians in mourning his loss. We feel bereft, as though we have lost a beloved father. We will be forever grateful that such a one as he walked this Earth of ours," she said.
The Congress president said like Mahatma Gandhi, who was his inspiration, Mandela was a leader who belonged to all humanity, "a towering beacon for all who cherish freedom, democracy and social justice."
Paying tributes to Mandela in the Lok Sabha, she said through the long years of his struggle for South Africa`s freedom from oppression, racial prejudice, inequality and poverty, he "redefined the meaning of courage, sacrifice, and forgiveness."
"Over the 10,000 days he spent in a brutal prison, sacrificing 27 years of his life for the freedom of his people, his courage never wavered, nor did his conviction that his cause was just and true," Gandhi said, adding, that with his passing away the world is deprived of a luminous presence and a radiant spirit.
Noting that Madiba was a beloved figure in India, Gandhi said "we felt deeply honoured that after his release from prison, India was one of the first countries he visited, in 1990. He was awarded the Bharat Ratna, the highest honour that India can bestow, because we loved and revered him..."
Besides, Mandela always led from the front but like a true leader, he had the gift of taking others along with him. His own courage was almost superhuman, yet he had the gift of inspiring others to acts of extraordinary heroism, she added.