Nelson Mandela was laid to rest at his home town of Qubu at a state funeral where the mourners vowed to carry on his struggle for equality and justice. His widow Graca Machel, ex-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, family members and around 450 selected guests consisting of dignitaries and famous personalities from all over the world including Prince Charles and Oprah Winfrey watched Mandela’s casket being buried at his family plot. His funeral marked the end of the final chapter of one of the most towering figures that the world had ever seen.
The Manipuri society is deeply fractured with almost all major components having their own political aspirations. All the major communities have powerful forces within that can sway the decision of the collective leadership and resorts to disruptive activities to push their agenda, manifesting their one track mind rather than push forward the common welfare of Manipur. Mandela used all his strength and ability to live up to the expectations of the world and outlined the future of South Africa free from the segregation and discrimination on the grounds of races. From the worst racial hostilities, he ensured that a calm and tolerant atmosphere prevailed and set the tone for bright beginning of trust and cooperation among its varied citizens and most of all he eradicated with efficacies the feeling of betrayal felt by the indigenous people against the new settlers who ruled mercilessly over them.
His ideals can help our state which has vast differences but with a rich variety of culture and traditions to come together to share a common destiny. The inability to bring unity among ourselves could be ascribed to the absence of leaders with his courage and moral fortitude. The political leaders of Manipur should also care to learn from Mandela’s struggle on how to effect the changes needed to overcome the inter-community friction prevailing at the moment. Manipur needs people at the top to have ideals to serve the people like a leader as well as a servant, not one above the others – like Mandela. He was a leader who used all his strength and ability to live to the expectation of the people. And after showing the way, and after his first term as president of South Africa, he gracefully retired and hand over the rein to the younger crops of leaders within his party. This showed that he encouraged the idea of collective leadership so that the county can survive its fortunes and reverses skillfully. Such attitudes are rare in our state where political leaders will hang on to their chairs and care less about the party sinking to the bottom of the sea.