The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers, Digital Edition > My Day
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt


HYDE PARK, Tuesday—In the conversation that we held on television last Sunday afternoon, I was struck by the world point of view shown by both the Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan of Pakistan and his wife. They have worked side by side in the development of their country which has within the last three years become a new and independent state.

Perhaps the Begum Liaquat Ali Khan has done the most pioneering job during this period. She has led the women, whose former habits and customs for many years kept them within the four walls of their homes, out into the world where they have tried to meet the extraordinary demands of helping to establish a government under the most trying possible conditions.

Pakistan in the past few years has seen seven million refugees coming in, many of them from the poorer agricultural groups, and seven million refugees going out, largely from the professional and managerial groups. The country has had thousands and thousands of people with no shelter and no food. Epidemics have swept over the land, which saw people dying along the roads. There had been a desperate shortage of nurses and no organization to handle the overall problem.

Untrained women, with only the natural nursing skill which women acquire in their homes as they bring up families, came forward by the hundreds and, without training, nursed the sick and wounded. Now the Begum Liaquat Ali Khan has brought in people to train nurses and has started a guard to establish better health conditions. The recent strides made by women in every field are really astonishing.

Pakistan, of course, is practically untouched as far as opportunities for development go. If the Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan succeed in ironing out their difficulties and establishing trade and peace throughout India they will have given an example of statesmanship to the rest of the world which would be particularly valuable at the present time.

If they can make compromises and find new approaches to problems and turn over the leaf of the past without recriminations, it would be an example that some of the rest of us might be urged to follow. Looking backward and counting up all the wrongs that each side has perpetrated never leads to very good results. It is quite easy for us all to do this, of course, and there is always plenty in the past to make all concerned resentful and suspicious. But what good does it do in building the future to keep one's eyes fixed on the past?

A few words out of a letter which has just come to me are worth quoting in relation to our efforts as we look to the future:

"The latest rumors in these parts are that we should expect the war in August or September. This throws me into a panic of horror and despair and my only desire is to dig an enormous cave and put my one little boy very far back inside, and me guarding the mouth, like a mother tiger....and the world is so very beautiful and living in peace is such a miracle."

How many people throughout the world would echo these thoughts? And yet, they feel they are just at the mercy of chance and must take whatever comes, handed to them by their rulers.

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Hyde Park (Dutchess County, N.Y., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, May 10, 1950

Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
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Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project The George Washington University 312 Academic Building 2100 Foxhall Road, NW Washington, DC 20007

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Transcription created from a photocopy of a UFS wire copy of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.