Statement on the Festival of India

April 18, 1985

I am pleased to announce that Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi will inaugurate the 1985 - 1986 Festival of India during his official visit to the United States in June. The Festival is an unprecedented, nationwide celebration which will include exhibitions, performance programs, symposia, and other educational projects in 37 States and more than 80 cities. The idea for this Year of India grew out of the visit in 1982 to Washington of Mr. Gandhi's mother, the late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. At that time, Mrs. Gandhi and I agreed that the Festival would be an excellent vehicle for the people of the United States to learn of one of the world's most ancient and vibrant civilizations.

We would like to commend the participating institutions, sponsoring corporations, foundations and agencies of both our government and the Government of India, which are making it possible. We welcome this unique opportunity to learn more of India's culture, society, and scientific achievements.

Recalling Mrs. Gandhi's vision for India and her devotion to the arts, it is appropriate that we dedicate this Festival of India to her memory. The Festival will comprise an affirmation of the universal value of the fascinating and richly varied civilization which was her personal heritage, as well as of the vitality of the great democracy to which she devoted her life.