My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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BOMBAY, India, Friday—I visited an extremely well-run physical laboratory where the experiments being made are in the area of research for industrial purposes though pure research could be done if they so desired. It is a wonderful new plant for which much of the machinery was made from surplus material salvaged and bought after the war.

Then I visited a very modern agricultural experiment station. Here, too, everything that was being done was familiar. This station must be of great use to those who are carrying on practical work in the different states and particularly to the people whom we could call extension workers who are trying to change some of the old customs and habits of the farmers in the villages.

I also stopped at a little clinic where a great many Americans and many of other foreign service groups give their services daily. UNICEF milk is dispensed to children and volunteer doctors diagnose cases and recommend treatment. Medicine is given out and some minor treatments are given on the spot. Ambassador Chester Bowles' young daughter was hard at work and I could not help thinking that this probably was not the way she would be spending her Saturday mornings if at home in Connecticut. But the need is so great here that no one can see it and sit by with folded hands.

My final call was at the chancellery of the American Embassy to meet members of the staff. Then I went to lunch with about 70 members of the press and answered questions a little in the spirit of Tommy Tucker who had to sing for his supper.

Back at the Prime Minister's house I saw a representative of Indonesia for a few minutes who tended me a warm invitation to spend two weeks in Indonesia instead of two days on my way home and to lecture throughout the country. I was sorry I had to explain that I was bound to return to the United States on a certain date and could not change my schedule.

Then I sat down to sign what looked like a mountain of autograph books and I got through only half of them when I had to leave for the plane.

At a little after four, with heavy drops falling from the blackest clouds one can imagine and a storm wind blowing, we took off for Jamnagar. The rain and hail fell upon us for a few minutes and then we were out of it. Headwinds made us late for our arrival and it already was a little after eight in the evening when we left the plane to be greeted by the Jamsaheb and the Maharanee.

I was fairly buried in garlands of flowers but finally I was greeted by everybody and got off for our short drive to the guest house. This is a fabulous place, with rooms in which one almost loses oneself just going from one to the other, but I had little time to think of anything except changing as quickly as possible into an evening dress since they were waiting for us to go out.

We went down to see some little girls from the nearby villages dance on the lawn, with floodlights illuminating the scene. We sat in the cool of the evening and listened to young voices sing and watched a variety of dances in which the arms were most gracefully used.

Then we went in to dinner and returned later to see two groups of male dancers—one some farmers from a village 29 miles away and one a group of mountain people who lived near the shore and were fishermen as well as mountaineers. Both groups were extraordinary in their dancing and singing and the costumes were colorful and interesting. The mountain people came from 114 miles away!

One still feels that the Jamsaheb is the father of his people or is regarded as such by all of them though he handed over his particular holdings and is now governor of a far larger province. He now has four million people in his domain as against four hundred thousand that originally were his responsibility.

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Bombay (India) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, March 8, 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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Digital edition published 2008, 2017 by
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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.