Sunday, January 4, 2009

Two for Peace and Unity

As the leaders of India and Pakistan engage in saber-rattling and political maneuvering, the Indian Roller turns the spotlight on to two people who defied conventional wisdom and worked towards unity and freedom from religious and racial biases.

Indar Jit Rikhye

General Indar Jit Rikhye (Photo Source:

Indar Jit Rikhye was born in Pakistan in 1920 and graduated from the Indian Military Academy of Unified Indian in 1939. He went on to command India's troops in Sinai and Gaza in 1957 as part of the U.N. peacekeeping force in that region. General Rikhye was a U.N. military adviser and after retiring from the U.N. he founded the International Peace Academy, now renamed, The International Peace Institute.

In its obituary for General Rikhye, The Economist states that, "In his last years, living contentedly in America, General Rikhye would often wish aloud that Pakistan and India could bridge their differences and combine their armies."

Obituary of General Rikhye,
Indar Jit Rikhye, an Indian peacekeeper

Helen Suzman

Helen Suzman and Nelson Mandela (Photo Source:

As a member of the Parliament in South Africa's apartheid era, Helen Suzman went against the grain of her pro-apartheid peers for 13 long years. Her detractors lashed out at her with anti-Semitic epithets and accused her of being a member of the Communist party. She persevered and worked to rid South Africa of the yoke of apartheid and ensure unity and freedom for all peoples in her country (a nation where Mahatma Gandhi incubated his movement for an Independent India, free of colonial hegemony).

Associated BBC article on Helen Suzman:
Suzman 'brave voice' on apartheid

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