Milkha Singh and Paan Singh Tomar. Both were Athletes in the Indian Army and donned the Indian colours at International meets including the Olympics.Both broke records and brought glory to the nation. The former in 400 metres and the latter in Steeplechase. While Milkha Singh remains a well sung hero, Paan Singh Tomar an unsung hero. Situation compelled him to be a rebel after leaving the army and died in a police encounter. Thanks to the film ‘Paan Singh Tomar’, the actor Irfan Khan won the best actor award in the title role and we learnt about many unsung heroes in the field of sports…
Khartoum has always been very safe and secured. People have said that Khartoum is the safest capital city in the Arab and the African world. I have every reason to believe this. However certain stray incidents let us down and we feel frustrated. During the recent protests against petrol price hike some non protesters took the opportunity and destroyed certain property in the streets. My friend happened to be a victim of such a situation. It is very common in Khartoum to park our cars at night outside the house in the streets. When my friend got up in the morning he found his car as in the picture.I think the spare parts must have been recycled in the city. We need to think twice before parking our cars at night in the streets.
Our journey started together eleven years ago in Khartoum. I have been associated with Sudan Vision ever since, both as a reader and as a freelance contributor.
Sudan Vision has always given space to the Indian community in Sudan.
This also reflects the space that Sudanese people have for Indians in their minds and heart. The emotions are reciprocal.
Historians have traced indications of direct contact between India and the Kingdom of Kush – Napata and Meroe (750 BC to 300 AD). Today there are about 2000 persons in the Indian community spread all over Sudan. The first Indian trader from this community arrived in Suakin in 1856. The first Sudanese Parliamentary elections in 1953 were conducted by Sukumar Sen, India’s Chief Election Commissioner (the Sudanese Election Commission, formed in 1957, drew heavily on Indian election literature and laws).
In April 1955 there was a Sudanese delegation at Bandung (Indonesia) to attend the Conference of Africa and Asia. Since Sudan was still not independent and did not have a national flag yet, India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru wrote out Sudan on his white handkerchief and created a flag for Sudan.
My Sudanese friends keep telling me that India has made its mark as a major player in global economy, as a nuclear power nation with technological advancements in the IT software and pharmaceutical sectors. Hindi films are very popular and have made its presence felt in the salons of almost every household. Above all, the most respected Indian personality in Sudan is Mahatma Gandhi.
When it comes to leadership studies the only Indian name that stands out internationally is Mahatma Gandhi. In a recent global survey of CEOs, Mahatma Gandhi figures among the top three most admired leaders in the world. There has been enormous research and studies done on the Leadership style of the ‘Great Soul’ and books written on him as CEO. He is considered a supremely practical leader for change.
Mahatma Gandhi is named the Father of the Nation because he stimulated and enabled the re-birth of India. This he could achieve by mastering the elements of leadership and institutional management.
Researchers hold Mahatma Gandhi as the Indian model of ‘Servant Leadership’ in relation to his qualities of service, self-sacrificial love, spirituality, integrity, simplicity, emphasizing follower needs and modeling.
Some studies show that Gandhiji had ‘Situational Leadership’ style. This means he had adjusted his style to fit the development level of the followers he influenced. When Gandhiji was in South Africa, he launched his protests in a suit and a tie. When he came back to India, he thought of home-made Khadi and launched non-violent protests on a greater scale.
As Indians abroad, foreigners identify us as people from the land of Gandhi. Mahatma Gandhi has inspired many International leaders like Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi , Philippine leader Benigno Aquino Jr., Dalai Lama, Lech Wałęsa and Stephen Biko. Former US Vice- President and environmentalist Al Gore has acknowledged Gandhiji’s influence on him. Beatle John Lennon had said that Mahatma Gandhi influenced his music with his practice of non-violence.
It is interesting that the President of the most powerful nation Barack Obama is inspired by our Father of the Nation. He said, “Throughout my life, I have always looked to Mahatma Gandhi as an inspiration, because he embodies the kind of transformational change that can be made when ordinary people come together to do extraordinary things”.
Albert Einstein wrote Gandhi is a role model for the generations to come.
Mahatma Gandhi had stopped over in Port Sudan in 1935 on his way to England. If Gandhi was still alive and had landed in Khartoum, his message would have been “I cannot teach you violence, as I do not myself believe in it. I can only teach you not to bow your heads before any one even at the cost of your life”.