Aug 30, 2008

India - Gandhis revisit Jiddu Legacy

CHENNAI: It's an association that goes back several decades — all three prime ministers, Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, have sought private audiences with thinker-philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti. It's been said that after Mahatma Gandhi's assassination, Nehru turned to Krishnamurti, in secret, to pour out his “solitary anguish”. Krishnamurti himself has confirmed the deep affection he had for Nehru. And this week, when Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra paid a visit to the Krishnamurti Foundation India's Rishi Valley School established by Krishnamurti in Chittoor in Andhra Pradesh, they were merely carrying forward traditional ties with the philosopher. Confirming that Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra visited the school on August 26, Radhika Herzberger, director of Rishi Valley School, told The Times Of India, “They were here on Tuesday between 12.30 pm and 4 pm. They wanted to understand our education system, it's quite a complex system we have here and they were very interested in learning more about it.” There has also been speculation that Priyanka would like to admit her children, Raihan and Mairaya, in the school. However, other sources said the idea behind the visit was to learn more about Rishi Valley's system as the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation is planning to open its own schools across the country. Gandhis take time to look around school Radhika Herzberger, the school's director, who incidentally is the daughter of Pupul Jayakar, one of Indira Gandhi's closest friends and her biographer, said the brother and sister spent about four hours in the school, walking around, meeting students and learning more about its functioning and philosophy. Jayakar had also written a biography of the philosopher and maintained close ties with him. Rahul and Priyanka were accompanied to Rishi Valley School by Gyanendra Badgaiyan, secretary of the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, which works on programmes relating to national development. Both Rahul and Priyanka, as well as their mother Sonia Gandhi, prime minister Manmohan Singh, finance minister P Chidambaram, and planning commission deputy chairperson Montek Singh Ahluwalia are trustees of the foundation. Herzberger told the Times of India that Badgaiyan visited the school about a fortnight earlier and informed them that Priyanka and Rahul would like to visit. “It was like a reconnaissance mission,” she said.

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