My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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NEW DELHI, Thursday —I must mention again the beauty of the gardens at the Government House here. They are open to the public every day now, and I went there just as the sun was beginning to go down and a soft evening light was spreading over everything. The colors were still vivid and I don't think I have ever seen a more beautiful arrangement of planting nor one garden leading into another in a more enchanting way, interspersed with pools and fountains.

The head gardener must be an artist, and it is wonderful to think that the people now have a chance to enjoy all this beauty. As I wandered down an alley way I came upon a workingman and asked him in English if he worked here. Smilingly he answered, "Yes." Then I asked him to tell the head gardener that I was grateful for so much beauty which had given me a most enchanting hour. The man was all smiles and I am sure he repeated my message, for the people here love beauty.

The other day we started out early to drive to Mahatma Gandhi's tomb. We proceeded down a long avenue and far in the distance we saw an arch, which is a monument to the soldier dead, somewhat like the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, only the vista here seems even more distant and more imposing. There is plenty of land in New Delhi and the roads are broad and the houses, which stand far apart, are surrounded by gardens. The old town is undoubtedly different, but I have not as yet seen it.

At the tomb there were many people. Reverently removing our shoes we went to lay our wreaths. The American Ambassador, Chester Bowles, was there with my wreath, and there were other members of the Embassy staff.

In the garden, which will eventually be bigger than it is at present, they have planted trees around the tomb. These were gifts from various countries, but nearly all the trees are native to India. I could not help wondering if each country might not find some trees from its own soil that would still grow in this climate. It would seem to me to make a more interesting planting to have a great variety of trees.

From the tomb we started off to drive to Faridabad. On the way we passed a beautiful old wall which, we were told, was one of the very old ruins about here and we went through a gate just to see what it would look like. On the other side there were refugee quarters built all around on what used to be green lawns, and where the wall was thick enough the refugees made their temporary quarters right in the wall, putting a door in the opening of the arches.

It strikes one here that building material is less scarce and that, on the whole the government has been able to do a better job of housing because it does have greater resources. This government seems to have been fortunate in inheriting from the British some well-trained civil servants, and one has a sense of more continuity and order here than in some of the newly organized states.

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • New Delhi (India) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, March 7, 1952

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.