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


CALCUTTA, India , Thursday—The flight to Katmandu, Nepal, was over the mountains and we came down just at sunset to the valley which is surrounded with mountains on all sides, with a few snow-capped peaks behind it. The valley itself is 4,000 feet up.

It was a lovely drive from the airport to a palace occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Rose. Mr. Rose, who is associated with our Point 4 program, has been living in the palace for some time but his wife and little girl joined him only 10 days ago. They hope eventually to have the offices on the first floor and have several other families live with them, for in Napal one either lives in a palace or in a tiny house with mud floors.

At seven o'clock the British minister came to see me and at eight o'clock we went to be received by King Tribhubana. The King drove me to the hall where he was giving a buffet dinner in my honor. Afterwards there was dancing by the soldiers. One dance on the lawn, with swords, was particularly impressive.

We were up early the next morning and I explored the house and grounds before breakfast with Mrs. Rose's little daughter as a guide. Then we started out and visited the Buddhist temple where the Chinese lama resides, but he was away. We also visited several other temples and walked through the streets in a nearby city which I found most interesting. We also walked about in Katmandu without attracting too much attention and looked at the workers and bazaars.

In Nepal there are two races. We saw many of a somewhat Mongolian type; the others are Aryans. There is no industry; agriculture is the chief occupation. There is no railroad and the roads are very bad, and I would say that the main occupation of the people is carrying things on their backs.

The big automobile that we rode about in was carried in over the mountains by the men on their backs. Trucks are brought in in the same way, but the bodies are assembled after arrival. Most people come by train across Pakistan to the Nepal border and then on horseback, getting off and walking when the road is too steep. The journey over the mountains takes a good two days.

We felt very far from the world but it is certainly a good climate and really beautiful scenically. The present government is progressive, but one could not change things too fast for these people. There have never been any statistics, so those in the party could not tell us if the population is going up or not. They did not know what the average expectancy of life was, but one person did tell me that the hospitals were very bad. The government is sending a few boys to study surgery in the U.S. under the Point 4 program and a number of other boys are away to study agriculture and forestry.

I hope they will not become too accustomed to the tools which are used in the U.S. so that their return to Nepal will not be one constant frustration. We met all these boys at a luncheon given by the Roses and met again the Prime Minister who had been most kind to us and who struck me as a most able and progressive man.

By three o'clock we were off to fly down along the mountains to Calcutta. It was really a beautiful flight and we caught sight of Mt. Everest above the clouds, and then as we approached Darjeeling we saw another group of high mountains. The clouds around them enhanced their height. We landed at Calcutta at six o'clock and had a quiet evening.

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Calcutta (India) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, March 28, 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.