Nelson Mandela was giant among men: PM Manmohan Singh

Manmohan MandelaI am deeply saddened at the passing away of President Nelson Mandela, PM said. (AP)

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday paid rich tributes to Nelson Mandela, describing him as a "giant among men" who was a beacon of hope for those struggling against oppression and injustice.

Condoling the demise of the great leader who devoted his life to fight against apartheid, Singh said his passing away is as much a loss to India and the world as it is to South Africa.

"I am deeply saddened at the passing away of President Nelson Mandela," he said in his condolence message.

Quoting an unknown poet, Singh said, "Here and there, and now and then, God makes a giant among men. President Mandela was one such giant amongst men."

The Prime Minister noted that Mandela not only represented the conscience of the world, he also remained a beacon of hope for those struggling against oppression and injustice long after he had led his own people to victory over such ills.

"Nelson Mandela endured great personal hardship so that others could be provided with dignity, equality and opportunity. He fought discrimination and inhuman exclusion, but rose above bitter divisions to heal and reconcile a fractured nation. His life and work made him a citizen of the world," he said.

"India, in particular, had great affection and regard for him. His mission was a great inspiration and moral bulwark for our principled struggle against apartheid. It also mirrored our own hope for a better world and we were greatly honoured

when he accepted the highest Indian civilian award of Bharat Ratna," the Prime Minister said.

He said today, India joins South Africa and the world in mourning his loss. "But we know that his life and ideals will inspire generations to come. May God bless his soul," Singh said.

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