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Appendix A.2 Invitation to India1

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Reel 1

Transcript

[MUSIC PLAYING]

RAYMOND MASSEY: India, a country as ancient as it is modern, moving as history moves across the threshold of the past. For 5,000 years, wave after wave of the peoples of Asia have streamed across India’s borders.

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RAYMOND MASSEY: Conquerors, immigrants, soldiers, holy men, and scholars—pilgrims of many creeds and of many races have woven their customs, traditions, and beliefs into a continuous and intricate pattern of civilization and of beauty. They have farmed and they have fought. They have loved and they have prayed. They have thought and they have played. They have built monuments and palaces and temples and cities. They have written poetry and they have sung songs for 5,000 years.

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RAYMOND MASSEY: And they have moved as history moves into the contemporary world of today.

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RAYMOND MASSEY: Delhi has been called the City of Seven capitals, the seat of power of seven ancient dynasties. New Delhi is now the seat of power of India’s Democratic Republic.

In February of 1962, the world’s largest democracy went to the polls for the third time in the history of the 12-year-old Republic. Over 100 million voters cast their ballots in and for the democratic process, the process of free elections. March 12, 1962, a new session of Parliament opens.

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RAYMOND MASSEY: Dr. Rajendra Prasad once more takes his place. The first democratically elected successor to India’s past heads of state. India’s first president.

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RAYMOND MASSEY: Also on this day, March 12, 1962, India, her people, and Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru expect a visitor.

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RAYMOND MASSEY: From a sister democracy 9,000 miles across oceans and continents, accompanied by the American Ambassador Kenneth Galbraith, comes Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy, wife of the 35th President of the United States, and her sister, Princess Lee Radziwill, invited guests of the prime minister and of his daughter, Mrs. Indira Gandhi.

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RAYMOND MASSEY: The first wife of an American president in office to come to India, Mrs. John F. Kennedy, a lover of the arts and the mother of two young children, has a special interest in the culture and traditions, old and new, of the world she is about to enter.

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RAYMOND MASSEY: Mrs. Kennedy brings to the people of India the greetings of the people of our own country, the United States, also a people of varied backgrounds and customs, of many faiths and races and beliefs.

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RAYMOND MASSEY: The United States Embassy in the center of New Delhi, combining modern architectural techniques and ancient Indian motifs, reflects the new world and the old, and the longstanding friendship between our countries, between the United States and India.

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RAYMOND MASSEY: The All India Institute of Medical Sciences, established by an act of Parliament in 1956, provides a model for medical education and research in India’s long struggle against illness and disease. Mothers and children are pretty much the same around the world, particularly mothers of sick children who know the value of a smile, a touch of brightness.

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RAYMOND MASSEY: This is India, 1962. This, too, is India, 1962. Millions of artisans in India’s villages and on India’s farms take part in a planned program to preserve her cottage industries, to keep alive the artistic traditions of centuries past, to establish training centers to provide raw materials for the loom and the needle. Kings and emperors and explorers of five centuries ago knew and treasured the silk of Banaras.

Today, Mrs. Kennedy meets and talks with some of the weavers, the buyers, and merchants of modern Banaras. Today the ancient art of weaving joins the 20th century in a procession of silks, brocades, and muslins for fashions that go round the world.

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RAYMOND MASSEY: In the marriage of old to new, the continuity of artistic tradition moves in an unbroken line from the variety and richness of the past to the living art of today. The life and the dreams of the people of any country, the United States or India, can find their deepest expression in the language of art.

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RAYMOND MASSEY: Art reaches across many barriers, makes many friends. In her own land, Jacqueline Kennedy has given a new place of importance to the American artist. Mrs. Kennedy finds in the young Indian artists who have come to meet her a welcome close to her heart.

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JACQUELINE KENNEDY: Mrs. Gandhi, my friend, it gives me great pleasure to present to you today the children’s art carnival, a present to the children of India from the International Council of the Museum of Modern Art and the Asia Society. Its purpose is to stimulate the artistic imagination of children, the artists of tomorrow. I’ve often noticed, and especially this morning at the Bal Sahyog, that the art of children is the same the world over. And so, of course, is our feeling for children. I think it is good in a world where there’s quite enough to divide people that we should cherish a language and an emotion that unite us all. Thank you.

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RAYMOND MASSEY: The distance from the prime minister’s gardens in the center of modern New Delhi is measured not only in miles to Jaipur, capital of the state of Rajasthan—

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RAYMOND MASSEY: —it is also measured in years, taking the American visitor on the first step of her journey into India’s past, to the land of the Rajputs, of warrior and prince.

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RAYMOND MASSEY: Elephants and emperors have always been friends. The rocky road up the hill to the Amber Palace palace was once traveled on the lumbering backs of elephants by Raja Man Singh I and his retinue of court followers 350 years ago. Alexander the Great marched his armies out of India with 200 elephants. Timur of Samarkand with nearly 1,000 a long time ago.

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Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh looked out from the terrace of the palace his fathers had built and saw the pleasant plains below. He decided it was time to come out of the fortified hills. In 1728, he built Jaipur, the Pink City, one of the first planned cities of its day.

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RAYMOND MASSEY: No murmurs of discontent, if there were any, were allowed to reach this monarch’s ears in the courtyards of the city palace or the corridors of the Hawa Mahal, the Palace of the Winds. Maharajah Sawai Jai Singh was a scientist. He preferred to think about the shape of the Earth, the universe, and the stars.

[SINGING]

RAYMOND MASSEY: Mrs. Kennedy’s journey continues back into time. Another city, another age, another monument. The year, 1569.

[SINGING]

RAYMOND MASSEY: The city, abandoned. The emperor, long since gone. The monument remains. Marble and mother of pearl to honor the tomb of a saint. In Fatehpur Sikri, the saint Salim Chishti prophesied that the great emperor would have the son he dearly wanted. And so the story is told, Akbar the Great did have a son, and his son had a son.

[SINGING]

RAYMOND MASSEY: The monuments of India’s historical past do not, however, belong to the past. They belong to each new day and to the people who live it—to priest and to scholar, merchant and villager, to neighbor, to stranger, to friend.

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RAYMOND MASSEY: This is the monument the son of the son of the great Akbar built. A garden of cyprus, a pool of still water, and a dome of pure marble. Behind a pierced marble screen, Emperor Shah Jahan entombed the body of his dead wife. Three centuries have gone by, year by year, hour by hour, the sky of India touching to immortality the tomb of the emperor’s wife.

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RAYMOND MASSEY: The Taj Mahal, an emperor’s monument to love and to death. Banaras, a people’s monument as ancient as the sacred Ganges that flows along its banks, a people’s monument to the life of India itself. To the holy city of temples and of minarets, to the city of the sacred river and to nearby Sarnath, where Lord Buddha preached his first sermon more than 2,000 years ago, come millions of India’s pilgrims, come India’s friends.

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RAYMOND MASSEY: The immense and sprawling life of Banaras is a reminder that the people of India form 1/6 of the peoples of the world.

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RAYMOND MASSEY: Furthest in time and in space from the start of the American journey into India, the medieval city of Udaipur, with the sunlight still falling on its ancient walls. Moving towards tomorrow, the White City is already a seat of learning. And India’s five year plan will bring further means of economic growth and modernization to its people.

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RAYMOND MASSEY: A window on Udaipur’s Lake Pichola opens, and as in many other parts of India, Mrs. Kennedy once more looks out on a changing day, on a day of legendary beauty.

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JACQUELINE KENNEDY: As I look back upon my journey through India, it is with a feeling of great affection for this country and its people, and for the prime minister, whose kindness made my visit possible. At the end of every day, I could not decide which day was the best. Each day brought new experiences, new friends, and a new welcome.

It was a wonderful surprise to meet our own American pioneers of the Peace Corps so many miles from home. Going the unknown ways, in my husband’s words, requires many gifts of character and a confident vision of the future. I believe that both the people in India and we in our own country share this vision.

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RAYMOND MASSEY: For the gentle man who went his way softly, no marble or ivory monument is needed. Strong in spirit as he was frail in body, Mahatma Gandhi’s memorial is in the hearts of his people, and in the thoughts of those everywhere who seek to maintain freedom and to secure peace.

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  1. Source: Kennedy Library, United States Government Agencies Collection, Series 01, United States Information Agency/Service Films, Invitation to India, 1962: 12–21, USG–01–10. Presented by the United States Information Service. Produced by Hearst Metrotone News Inc., Directed by Leo Seltzer. Written by Doris Ransohoff. Narrated by Raymond Massey. See Document 96.