Ela Gandhi, the granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi and a member of Nelson Mandela’s party, recalls some fond memories of the South African legend in a conversation with Sheela Bhatt.
The world has joined South Africa in its profound sense of loss as it mourned its beloved leader, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, but India has a special connection with the South African freedom-fighter. As summed up by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, “It is as much India’s loss.”
Ela Gandhi, the granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi, who lives in Durban, told rediff.com, “Mandela is our greatest hero. He was our icon. In fact, the whole world loved Mandela."
Ela is the daughter of Gandhi’s second son Manilal and his wife Sushila Mashruwala.
Ela, 73, is a political activist of South Africa’s ruling African National Congress and was a member of parliament from 1994 and 2000. She said, “Mandela was humble, loving and caring.”
Recounting some fond Mandela moments, she said, “Somebody once asked Mandela how would you like to be remembered? What will be your legacy be? Mandela simply said, ‘Let people say here lies the person who carried out his duties’.”
“What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead,” Mandela had said, recalled Ela.
Ela has been associated actively with the Phoenix Ashram founded by Gandhiji in South Africa.
Image: Ila Gandhi