Articles

REMEMBERING AN ICON

NEWS INDIA-TIMES, DECEMBER 13, 2002

Eleanor Roosevelt

Top row, from left,
Ambassador Van Den
Heuval and Meera
Gandhi; middle row,
from left, Nina,
Christine and Wendy
Roosevelt, daughters
of Bunny Roosevelt;
and front row, from
left, David Roosevelt,
Laura Roosevelt and
Bunny Roovevelt,
flanked by Billy and
Georgia Roosevelt,
first cousins of
Franklin Roosevelt.

NEW YORK, NY - India and the United States were linked together in a recent event organized by the Eleanor Roosevelt Center at Val-Kill (ERVK) at the home of Meera and Vikram Gandhi in New York. The Gandhi home, a townhouse, had been the Manhattan residence of one of the 20th century's most influential and admired women in the years she was actively pursuing her United Nations goals.

The Gandhis hosted the event at their 'legacy home,' a part of the ongoing effort by ERVK to continue the "dialogue and change through programs related to Roosevelt's humanitarian concerns."

Roosevelt had earlier links to India. She had traveled to India and was the author of a book in which she pays tribute to India's democracy.

Ambassadors, including India's Permanent Representative to the U.N., V.K. Nambiar, leaders of finance and industry and socialites gathered along with ERVK associates to remember the lady who was the chief architect of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and to voice support for ERVK in its mission to carry on with the Roosevelt work.

While it is known to students of history that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt often needled Prime Minister Winston Churchill with his support for the cause of India's independence during World War II, Eleanor's interest in India dates from a later period. She visited India at the invitation of Jawaharlal Nehru in 1952.

She called that experience "very rewarding," from which sprung her book 'India and the Awakening East' Orville Prescott wrote in The New York Times, "Reading 'India and the Awakening East' one is reminded once again of all the qualities that have made Eleanor Roosevelt a political and personal phenomenon: Her prodigious energy, her passionate idealism, her modesty and tact, her spontaneous sympathy for others, her optimism and enthusiasm."

Val-Kill is the modest house near the Hudson River in Hyde Park, the only home that was ever hers.

It was declared a National Historic Site in 1977, the only one dedicated to a First Lady. Val-Fill welcomes visitors as Mrs. Roosevelt used to welcome her many guests. Visitors may tour the Val-Kill Cottage and enjoy the lovely gardens and grounds.

If they wish to contribute to the many noble causes she supported, ERVK is there to help them make a selection.