New Delhi: Parliament paid tribute to anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela Friday, with both houses being adjourned for the day after obituary references.
In the Lok Sabha, members across the spectrum remembered the South African leader as an inspiring figure and paid emotional tributes.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi said it was “as though we have lost a beloved father”.
“He redefined the meaning of courage and sacrifice,” Gandhi said, adding that his courage was “superhuman”.
“Like the Mahatma (Gandhi) who inspired him, he belonged to all humanity,” she said.
Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said: “We offer our heartfelt tributes to Bharat Ratna Nelson Mandela.”
Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj said Mandela struggled against apartheid and served long years in jail and “still he did not have a frown on his face”.
Speaker Meira Kumar recalled her visit to South Africa when she saw the prison cell in which Mandela was kept for 27 years, and her meeting with the icon.
“For me, the visit was like a pilgrimage from which I draw still inspiration. His ideals of human rights live on as a guiding light,” she said.
In an obituary reference as soon as the house met at 11 a.m., Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari said Mandela’s message of courage and goodness “will continue to guide us for many years”.
He also recalled that Mandela was conferred the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honour, in 1990.
South Africa’s first black president and anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela passed away aged 95 Thursday at his home in Johannesburg.