MARCH 12, 1952
BOMBAY, India, Tuesday—I was happy to see here the other day Mrs. Hansa Mehta, who has been India's chief representative on the Human Rights Commission. She has earned for herself the respect and friendship of the committee and it was a pleasure to see her in her own country.
After lunch I went to see an interesting experiment in adult education. Many of the younger women in the tenements of Bombay observe Purdah, so they would not go out to schools. But they would meet together in a room belonging to any one of them and the teachers would go to them.
The tenements of Bombay apparently provide one room per family, and the one we visited had as rickety stairs as any I find in New York, though I think these may have been made of stone and hollowed out and made uneven by the passage of many feet. I was unable to see them, however, because in preparation for our coming to this class white silk had been spread from the sidewalk to the door of the room. And they had taken the trouble to make the usual flower wreaths of blossoms and they presented us with a sweet drink.
Then, like so many children, from where they sat on the floor the girls rose and read their pieces out of their books. In a little test they were given a newspaper to read and it was found that almost all of them could read. Then they brought their copy books and showed they could write but I am afraid I was not able to judge along these lines.
Later in the afternoon I went to the opening of the annual meeting of the various Bombay women's organizations on child welfare, at which Mrs. Pandit was the final speaker. I knew that I was due back at Government House for the Menuhin concert and I also knew that my host was a very punctual person, and because Mrs. Pandit was not yet finished at 6:10 I began to feel a bit uneasy. She did finish a few minutes later, and I bid her good-bye and hurried away, wondering if she made her train back to New Delhi.
Fortunately the Governor, who was my host, had left for the concert and had asked Dr. Gurewitsch and Miss Corr to bring me. We missed only the first part of the first number. It was a magnificent concert and beautifully played. Mr. Menuhin received the applause he so richly deserved and the audience kept him playing many encores.
Later we had a late dinner and then tried to pack and get ready for our departure next morning for Trivandrum.
In the morning we took off at 10 o'clock and lunched on the plane before arriving at Trivandrum. The country completely changed as we flew south and we saw great coconut palms below us most of the time. We flew along the coast and could see that inside the beach there was an inland waterway, which reminded me somewhat of the Florida Canals. This waterway runs a long distance and permits coast traffic in small boats which travel in perfect safety.