Wednesday, 7 December, 2022

Flashback to Queen Elizabeth II’s Historic Visits to India, Love for Indian Culture & More

  • Sun Online Desk
  • 9th September, 2022 09:21:39 PM
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Flashback to Queen Elizabeth II’s Historic Visits to India, Love for Indian Culture & More
Queen Elizabeth II of great Britain delivers and address to a vast gathering of more than a quarter of a million Indians at the Ramlila assembly grounds outside the walls of old Delhi, India on Jan. 28, 1961 © AP Photo

Five years after India gained independence from British rule, 26-year-old Princess Elizabeth was officially crowned Queen of the United Kingdom following her father George VI's death in 1952. With the passing of the monarch on Thursday, her 73-year-old son Prince Charles has become the new king.

Britain's longest-serving monarch Queen Elizabeth II, who reigned for over 70 years and breathed her last on Thursday at her summer home at Balmoral Castle in Scotland at the age of 96, shared a long and strong association with India.

The monarch visited the country three times during her reign: in 1961, 1983, and 1997.

As the world mourns the demise of the Queen, people in India are paying tribute to her on social media by remembering and cherishing some great memories of her magnificent life and tours of the country.

In January 1961, the Queen, along with her husband and Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip, visited India for the first time at the invitation of the then President Dr. Rajendra Prasad. The royal couple received a warm welcome from crowds of people who lined up on the streets or perched on rooftops just to catch a glimpse and cheer for them.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II chats with some of the Indian girls who took part in an elaborate pageant at New Delhi on Jan. 30, 1961 © AP Photo

From visiting the famous Taj Mahal, the monument of love in Agra, to attending the grand Republic Day military parade at Delhi's "Kartvyapath" (formerly known as Rajpath) to offering prayers at the memorial of freedom struggle icon Mahatma Gandhi, the royal couple's maiden visit to India marked a historic moment as it was a step towards building strong ties.

FILE - In this file photo dated Feb. 26, 1961, Britain's Queen Elizabeth II steps ashore at Bombay, India, for a visit to the atomic energy plant at the "Gateway to India," which King George V called "the jewel of the British crown" during his 1911 visit. © AP Photo

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip met India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and several Maharajas (heads of princely states) who gave them an experience of Indian culture and tradition with a royal welcome and hospitality during their multi-city tour.

The scene of splendor as Queen Elizabeth II arrived on Jan. 22, 1961 at the palace in Jaipur, Rajasthan, Indian on the back of a huge, decorated elephant after the half-mile ride from the palace gates. Riding in the golden howdah with her majesty is the Maharajah of Jaipur. © AP Photo

The couple also took an elephant ride in a royal procession, a picture of which is now circulating on Twitter.

The Queen also received a rousing reception in Delhi at the historic "Ramlila Maidan," where she addressed a massive gathering of people.

"The warmth and hospitality of the Indian people, and the richness and diversity of India itself have been an inspiration to all of us,” the Queen said in one of her addresses.

The British monarch was reportedly gifted an artistic model of the 12-Century minaret Qutub Minar, while the Duke of Edinburgh was presented with a silver candelabra, according to rare archival footage of the royal tour.

In 1983, the Queen and Prince Philip visited India for the second time at the invitation of then-President Giani Zail Singh.

The Queen honored Mother Teresa, a Catholic nun and missionary, with the Insignia of the Honorary Order of Merit for dedicating her life to charity work and helping the poor, hungry, and sick people living in the slums of Kolkata city in West Bengal.

In this Nov. 24, 1983 file photo, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, left, receives the Insignia of the Honorary Order of Merit from Britain'sQueen Elizabeth II at the Rashtrapati Shavar in New Delhi. Queen Elizabeth II, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch and a rock of stability across much of a turbulent century, has died. She was 96. Buckingham Palace made the announcement in a statement on Thursday Sept. 8, 2022.

In this Nov. 17, 1983 file photo, Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, right, gestures as she talks to Indian Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, the President's Palace in Delhi, during the first day of her visit to India. Queen Elizabeth II, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch and a rock of stability across much of a turbulent century, has died. She was 96. Buckingham Palace made the announcement in a statement on Thursday Sept. 8, 2022

During India's 50th year of Independence in 1997, the royal visited the country for the third and the last time, and marked it with a significant tour.

The Queen and Prince Philip visited the Jallianwala Bagh Memorial in Amritsar in Punjab, and placed a wreath at the site, where over 500 Indians were shot dead by British soldiers.

She called it a "difficult episode" of colonial history while remembering the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre.

The Queen also visited the Sikh Golden Temple in Amritsar to offer prayers and visited a movie set of Indian superstar Kamal Hassan's flick Marudhanayagam at the MGR film city in Chennai.

In a video of the Queen addressing former Indian President Pratibha Devisingh Patil at Buckingham Palace, she said that Britain and India's long-shared history was a source of great strength in building a new partnership fit for the new century.

"Nearly 2 million of our own citizens are tied by descent and enduring family links to India. They represent one of the United Kingdom's most dynamic and successful communities… relations between our two countries are built on strong and deep foundations, and are set fair for the 21st century,” she added.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday took to social media to offer his condolences, and stated that the Queen had been an undeniable presence not only in the chapters of modern world history, but also for India.

Taking a trip down memory lane, PM Modi recalled, “During one of the meetings she showed me the handkerchief Mahatma Gandhi gifted her on her wedding. I will always cherish that gesture."

Source: Sputnik News