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Desmond Tutu a living Gandhian: PM

Last updated on: February 01, 2007 00:08 IST

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday described the Archbishop Desmond Tutu as a living Gandhian because of his role in the post apartheid South Africa.

Speaking at a function organised to honour Tutu with the Gandhi Peace Prize, Dr Singh said: "I call him a living Gandhian because there has been no greater example of the practice of Gandhiji's principles than the reconciliation effort in post-apartheid South Africa."

"Many of us admire and respect Gandhiji. We want to emulate Gandhiji, we espouse the ideas and ideals of Gandhiji, but few of us have had the courage to practice what he preached," he added.

"He wanted the end of British rule in India. He wanted the end of colonialism. Yet, he sought friendship with the people of Britain. It is the same sentiment that Archbishop Desmond Tutu and his comrade-in-arms Nelson Mandela espoused

through the institution of the Truth and Reconciliation Council. They fought for the end of apartheid.  But they also fought to live in peace with all races, all religions and all communities.  There is no better example of Gandhism than this," the prime minister said. 

While talking of the inspiring personalities of Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Tutu, Dr Singh said India and South Africa not just share history and geography that brings them together but also the vision of the world today, and the world of tomorrow. 

"We are multi-cultural, multi-racial, multi-lingual and multi-religious democracies. We sincerely hope Bishop Tutu will continue to spread the light of reason and tolerance and bring peace to the world. I take this opportunity to salute the people of South Africa and their great leaders Nelson Mandela and Bishop Tutu. I do feel proud to share this platform with a great son of Africa and a man of peace, Bishop Tutu," he said.

Onkar Singh in New Delhi