“Paramahansa Yogananda often said that one day America and India together would lead the world.”
PRESIDENT EISENHOWER IN INDIA
He told the Indian Parliament: “I bring to this nation assurance from my own people that they feel the welfare of America is bound up with the welfare of India.”
President Eisenhower Sees India Marching to a Great Destiny
On President Eisenhower’s arrival in India on December 9, 1959, he said: “As I set foot on the soil of India I am fulfilling a cherished wish held for many years. Since the day that your Prime Minister came to visit me in Washington …I made up my mind that, come what may, the Lord willing, I would come back to India while I was still President….
“India won its freedom and its independence through peaceful means. This in itself was a great accomplishment and one that has challenged the admiration of the whole world. But, more than that, India determined to live in peace; has devoted her entire efforts, all her treasure, all her talent, all her brains, to raising the standards of her people so as to give them a better chance for a better life….
“The deepest purpose I have in coming here is this: to symbolize, if I can and if I may so presume, the fact that the United States stands with India; the leaders of the United States standing with the leaders of India, in our common quest for peace.”
“All Humanity is in Debt to India”
During a speech before the Indian Parliament in New Delhi on December 10th, Mr. Eisenhower stressed “the special community of interests and identical basic goals of the United States and India.” He said: “I bring to this nation of four hundred million assurance from my own people that they feel the welfare of America is bound up with the welfare of India.” He paid a tribute to the Indian people for their culture, their progress, and their strength among independent nations. All humanity is in debt to India, he pointed out, but Americans have with Indians a special community of interests. He spelled out these interests by referring to both countries pursuing the course of democracy and both countries achieving national strength out of diversity, from many strains and races speaking many tongues and worshiping in many ways.
At a Civic Reception in New Delhi on December 13th, Mr. Eisenhower said: “Between the largest democracy on earth, India, and the second largest, America, lie ten thousand miles of land and ocean. But in our fundamental ideas and convictions about democracy we are close neighbors. We ought to be closer. We who are free… must know each other better, trust each other more, support each other….
“One thing I assure you. From now on I shall be quick to speak out on every possible occasion that India is becoming one of the greatest investment opportunities of our time—an investment in strengthening of freedom for the prosperity of the world. India—mighty in the numbers of its people and in their will to build an even greater republic—marches, I am confident, to a great destiny.”
See historic and inspiring film footage of Pres. Eisenhower’s visit to India below
India—”Challenge, Excitement, and Wonder”
In a farewell radio broadcast to the people of India, Mr. Eisenhower said: “I leave India reluctantly. My visit here has been one of the most moving experiences of my life…. I have sensed the spirit of New India, heir to a culture ages old; now possessed by a grand vision; advancing decisively; building a great modern democracy on the foundation of an ancient civilization.
“India has filled these past four days of my life with so much challenge, excitement, and wonder that I shall never forger the experience.
“Some similarities between our two countries have become clear to me. India and America believe in the dignity of the individual, in each one’s right to live. These are indeed fundamental bonds between us. You are a very old civilization with an ancient tradition and culture. We are a young country. Our tradition is, as traditions go, young also. But in another sense, in the sense of your independent nationhood, you too are young. You are starting, as we did 184 years ago, on the path of the development of a new nation…. I have been deeply impressed by the way in which you are shouldering the immense problem of raising the standard of living of your people; by the energy and skill and imagination which you are applying to this task. Your achievements in the twelve years of your independence have been remarkable, and promise even more for the future.
“I am leaving India with the reinforced conviction that the people of India and the people of the United States are engaged in a common quest for the improvement of the general welfare of their people, and for peace with justice throughout the world. I take away the warmest and friendliest feelings for this great nation.”
(Paramahansa Yogananda often said that one day America and India together would lead the world.)
The Government of India presented Mr. Eisenhower with many beautiful gifts. The chief one, which the American President exclaimed over as “impressive,” “superfine,” and “marvelous,” was a carving in sandalwood and ivory depicting a scene of the Kurukshetra Battle from the Indian epic, the Mababbarata. The scene shows Arjuna, under the guidance of Lord Krishna, vanquishing Karna. The latter is seen decharioted, his bow and other weapons torn asunder and strewn on the battlefield. The ivorywork is placed on an ornate, carved pedestal of sandalwood and rosewood, about the size of an office desk. Shamba of Mysore, one of India’s finest craftsmen, worked on this piece for eighteen months. Mr. Prasad, President of India, pointed out that the carving represents the triumph of good over evil. [This artwork can also be seen in the video on this page.]
from Self-Realization magazine, JAN. – FEB. 1960
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