From America, With Love

Former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt at a spinning wheel in Delhi.

Former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt at a spinning wheel in Delhi.

By Pallavi Chattopadhyay 

New Delhi: Images of a bare-chested Mahatma Gandhi, dressed in a loincloth, sitting beside the charkha, has represented his sentiment of Swadeshi in history books for decades. But a new face behind the wheel, former US First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, seated on the ground in her black dress and hat during her visit to Delhi in February 1952, takes viewers by surprise at the gallery in American Center. Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore holding American activist Helen Keller’s hand during New History Society’s meeting at New York in 1930 is another gem that features in the photo exhibition ‘Celebrating 70 Years of US-India Relations’, which documents the relationship between the two countries since the 1950s. Keller’s visit to India in 1955 is also captured in the exhibit, where she is seen mapping the face of a Sikh at the English Speaking Union, Calcutta, and was called “America’s gift to India” by former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. The reason can be traced to the impact her arrival on Indian soil had on Indian organisations working for the blind.


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