Nelson Mandela's legacy: Something India's politicians must learn

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Nelson Mandela, for must of the youngsters today, was another great politician who died at an old age. But the man has left a legacy which is very important for today's political systems, struggling to cope with increasing democratisation and competition for resources, to imbibe and execute.

Take for instance, the Indian democracy since we are Indians. Can our political class today learn the skill of reconciliation that the former South African president had practised despite being a victim of colonial brutality? Can those fighting opponents over every single reason in the country today, thinking that such act is tantamount to something heroic, sit for a while and think how Mandela had accepted his adversary, the last president of the apartheid South Africa FW de Klerk as his deputy.

Can they, for a day, give up the naked display of populism and learn from Mandela who did not talk the familiar route of nationalising resources and instead preferred foreign investment. In 1995, Madiba celebrated the victory of South Africa's once boycotted rugby team, the Springboks, which as Klerk said, had hearts of millions of white rugby fans. This was Mandela's greatness. He did not, unlike many leaders of the developing world, seek revenge against opponents and eternal control over power.

In India, the land of the Mahatma, our concern is too obsessed with petty and short-term interests. Our leaders have conveniently formed groups to argue who is more suitable to become the prime minister of the country and not how the nation can go forward in a united way and through what ways universally agreed upon.

The level of mediocrity of our political leadership is pulling us back badly and this is where Mandela's legacy becomes all the more important. Forget reconciliation of ideology, even the nation's economic interests are being compromised in the fruitless squabble.

India's leaders have expressed grief over the demise of Mandela. But have they learned the all-important lesson that the man had offered?

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