event

The desire to end suffering is the motivation that most moves us in leaders. Nelson Mandela, His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu are figures who embody this motivation in popular consciousness, and it is this motivation and this alone that makes us love them. Leaders can be as clever as they like, but nobody loves cleverness. People fear strength but do not love it. Patriots may evoke pride but never love.

Lesley would miss seeing Mandela released by less than a year, and she did not hear him read Jack’s lover’s poem (in Jack’s translation) during the ceremony that inaugurated the first free South African Presidency and the triumphant return of the South African Communist Party to parliament as an ally of the ANC. She would have been calmly pleased, I imagine, for although she had become thoroughly apolitical, she never renounced her distaste for apartheid Nationalism. She had received news of the collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe a few months before with calm satisfaction. The other event she escaped was the death of her guru, Charan Singh, which came a few months after hers, and the succession of his nephew, Gurinder Singh, to the gaddi.

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