My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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NEW DELHI , Monday—In telling you the other day about the fort where the battle occurred that assured English dominance over India I did not tell you about the connection between American and Indian history.

The war which the British waged for control of India began in 1757 and ended in the '90's. The Indians tell me that in some of their old prophecies it was predicted that the white man would come about the middle of the century and he would rule India for about 100 years. So it was no surprise to them when they won their freedom in 1947.

But the French, when they offered their aid to us at the time of our revolution, were quite conscious of England's involvement in India because they also had interests there and were allies of the Moslem in power, at least in words. So when the French came to our aid in America they probably knew full well that England could not possibly put any very great force against us because of her involvements in the rest of the world. This is a tie-up that one finds most interesting in history—and it is rarely taught us in our school history books.

Few people know that after General Cornwallis' defeat in America he was transferred to fight in India—and few of us know that perhaps India had something to do with our independence.

I would never have thought of it if I had not visited this old fort and talked about this period of their history with some of the Indians.

Today we have been drawn close together by modern inventions but there were no modern inventions to draw us together when we fought our war for independence—and still India had perhaps a great effect on the whole course of the United States history.

At the Chief Minister's dinner in Bangalore last Friday night the food was served buffet style, which permitted us to sit out on the porch of his house and eat and see more of the other guests than we would have been able to at a formal dinner. I thought it was delightful and our host and hostess were most thoughtful and charming.

After dinner I had a talk with Sir Mirza Ismail, who has spent seven or eight months in Indonesia for the United Nations and only came back because of illness, from which he has now recovered.

He told me he did not approve of universal suffrage and he sounded to me somewhat like Alexander Hamilton in his reasoning. But I can well understand his feeling though I do not agree with him, since I think in this modern day it is the giving of responsibility which is the surest teacher. Much that Sir Mirza did tell me, however, I agreed with thoroughly.

He has wisdom and a keen and analytical mind but he's not quite prepared to undertake some of the adventures which seem almost essential if somewhat dangerous, under modern conditions.

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • New Delhi (India) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, March 18, 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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MEP edition publlished on 2008-06-30

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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.