Bharat Ratna - Nelson Mandela Dies at 95
South Africa's first black president and Anti-Apartheid Icon Nelson Mandela (18th July 1918 – 5th December 2013) has died on 5th December 2013 of complications from a recurring lung infection. He is 95. He was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary and was imprisoned for 27 years. Later he became a politician and served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He was the first black South African to hold the office, and the first elected in a fully representative, multiracial election. He was the winner of Nobel Peace Prize for the year 1993 (jointly shared this award with Frederik Willem de Klerk) "for the work for the peaceful termination of the apartheid regime, and for laying the foundations for a new democratic South Africa".
He was honored with India's prestigious honor Bharat Ratna (India conferred him with this award in the year 1990 when he was released from prison). He was the Second non-citizen and non-Indian recipient of this award. First non-Indian recipient was independence activist Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan (Pakisthan) in the year 1987. Mr Mandela shared a close link with India through Mahatma Gandhi who he called his political guru. "The Indians influenced our struggle here and especially a man like Mahatma Gandhi. So we respect them, honor them," many times he had said. Mandela drove close relations with India and the two countries forged bonds over groupings like IBSA and BRICS. "Our nation has lost its greatest son," South Africa's president Jacob Zuma said while announcing the news on South African national TV.
Nelson Mandela is referred to as the Gandhi of South Africa.