Visit of A Foreign Dignitary To Your Country
The most memorable visit to India was that of Queen Elizabeth of Britain in the year 1997. Though visits of foreign dignitaries take place from time to tome but the tremendous excitement which the Queen’s visit aroused in India cannot be matched with any other event.
Queen Elizabeth and party landed at Indira Gandhi International Airport, 21st December 1997 at about 10 A.M. The blue plane in which she had travelled from England to India was unique in structural beauty and provided all amenities of the home to the Royal visitors.
The people of India were so excited to catch sight of the Queen that they assembled in lakhs and covered both sides of the entire route from Airport to Rashtrapati Bhavan—a distance of about 16 km. To avoid disappointment thousands of them took better seats along the route hours in advance.
The Royal party arrived in time. The door of the plane opened and the Queen along with her consort, Prince Philip, was the first to come out. As soon as they touched the ground the National Anthems of the U.K and India began playing. The Prime Minister Mr. Inder Kumar Gujral, was quick to move ahead warmly to hand-shake with the Queen who in her splendid figure seemed an incarnation of beauty and grace. She wore a pleasing smile on her face and waved to the cheering corwds.
She was taken to a specially erected and beautifully decorated shamiana nearby to take rest for a short while.
After some time the party moved towards Rashtrapati Bhavan in a Mercedes car. The roads were swept clean and the National Flags of both countries fluttered on both sides of the roads at a distance of every twenty yards. All along the route men, women and children occupied every inch of space. Everywhere as soon as the car was spotted from a distance people stood up and jostled with one another to have a better view of the Queen. At places where the crowds were deep, the police had a hard time controlling them. Pushing, and elbowing with full force choked many persons in the crowds. Consequently a large number of people could not catch sight of the Queen and were very sorry for it.
The Queen seemed very much delighted. She smilingly went on folding her hands to the crowds in acknowledgement of her satisfaction with the reception. Sometimes she glanced at the people who had taken their place at roof tops in Connaught Place. Mr. Inder Kumar Gujral and Prince Philip sitting on each side of the Queen also seemed happy and waved to the crowds. The crowds began to melt as soon as the carriage drove past them.
In the evening banquets were held at Rashtrapati Bhavan in honour of the visiting dignitary. Next day she was given a civic reception by the Delhi Corporation.
The Queen paid a private visit to the Maharaja and Maharani of Jaipur. She also enjoyed herself in a shooting meet and bagged a tiger. She visited many places of historical interest like the Taj in India.
The visit came to an end after a few days and Queen Elizabeth went back to her country leaving behind sweet memories of the visit and taking with her the impressions of the high regard in which Indians hold her.