Friday, July 18, 2003


Nelson Mandela is now 85 - and to mark this a portion of the daily current affairs programme on DD National at 10:30 pm 'Worldview India' (a very good programme - I am reminded of my younger days when watching 'The World This Week') was dedicated to him on 16th July. It had poignant footage from history, of the African national struggle against the imposition of Apartheid by the British. Mandela and his comrades were imprisoned decidedly taking the struggle on the path to success. The foucus was on how the Indians helped throughout in the struggle - also India was the first country to cut off diplomatic and international links with the then SA's racist goverment and the last to resume it.
Saeed Naqvi the first to interview Mandela when he was released from prison after twenty seven years, recounted on the show how he had managed to enter SA because of contacts in high places during those troubled times and was assisted by one of Mandela's Indian comrades, Ahmed K to interview him. Naqvi also related, how electrifying and momentous the day was when he Mandela was released from the Victoria prison. The whole area was lined with supporters, well wishers and journalists from all over the world, helicopters hovering above to capture the unforgetable moment on video.
Naqvi noted that even after years of imprisonment, not a trace of hatred or aggression or anger could be seen in Mandela's persona.

I am basically appalled at the outrageous behaviour of the British in using the Black & White divide to oppress the very natives of the contry they had forcibly and wrongfully colonized. True even India faced colonialism but the public use of racism to restrict and shadow all human rights and imprison the blacks is so distressing and unpalatable to even think of. Relating to an incidence one of Mandela's contemporaries said, when imprisoned the Africans(blacks) including Mandela, in the biting cold winter were given short prison pants, whereas Indians were given long pants.

An indication towards what can an is happening in Iraq too - if not race then religioUS or cultural apartheid.

Mandela praised and acknowledged the political, moral and social support that Indians lended during the period. Many of the members of ANC and close associates of Mandela were Indians including Ahmed K, Laloo Chiba, and many others. A series of interviews was shown on the show of how they supported Mandela in writing his autobiography from inside prison - Long March to Freedom - in a stunning flimsy and mysterious manner, writing in the footer area of sheets in extremely small print and passing it on to the supporters and party functionaries outside; to get it published.
The Indians in SA were confined to ghettos during that period, their free movement curbed and not to be mentioned blacks were treated as inhumans. We call such people civilised races ? The Iraqis and Indians were the true civilizations in the sense of the word, but later on the Romans, Greeks and all following civilizations were blinded by their obsession for conquest, unbounded power and world dominance defying all human rights and ethics.

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