Queen Elizabeth's Farewell Broadcast to India, 1961

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Queen Elizabeth's Farewell Broadcast to India, 1 March 1961  (1961) 
by Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom

Delivered on 1 March 1961, All India Radio, New Delhi.
Source: India, Ministry of External Affairs (1961), Foreign Affairs Record, pp. 82 

Tomorrow my husband and I are leaving India, and I have already said good-bye to many of the people who have looked after us with so much kindness and efficiency while we have been here. But I also want to thank as many of the people of India as I can reach through this broadcast for the wonderful reception you have given us.

I have always hoped that sooner or later I would have the good fortune to come to India. Now that this wonderful visit is drawing to an end, I have been thinking over all those things which will stay in my mind.

My husband and I will take with us the most vivid impressions of places, events, and people. We shall remember some of the great modern buildings of India of the last few years--the splendid building of the Indian Medical Institute here in Delhi, for instance, and the great industrial plants of Bengal, Madras, and Bombay. Many of your famous ancient building were already known us in pictures and photographs, so we looked at them with an added pleasure and interest. No less fascinating is the contract of your landscapes from the Himalayas, which we saw from the air, to the plains of Central India and the hills of the South.

Of events, there were so many that they form a kaleidoscope of infinite colour and variety. Most of all we were thrilled by the wonderful welcome which was given to us, wherever we went, by such great and friendly crowds. There was the splendid Republic Day parade in Delhi, which, together with the folk dances and the ceremony of Beating Retreat, gave us an idea of the unity and diversity which together make India. There were the crowds of villagers in the countryside, the textile workers of Ahmedabad, the massive demonstrations of affection in Calcutta, Madras, and Bombay. I cannot hope to enumerate all the other occasions, I would only say how happy and moving they all were.

It is much too soon for me to form any clear impression of what I have seen and experienced, and I realize that 23 days in this vast country is too short a time in which to form any reliable opinions, but one thing is perfectly obvious. No one can fail to recognize that this country is dedicated to bringing about, within a democratic framework, a better, richer, and happier life for every citizen. This is an immensely difficult and challenging task, and there would be no hope of success unless everybody was prepared to work and, if necessary, sacrifice themselves in this cause.

It is plain to see that, however much personal outlooks or backgrounds may differ, there is a deep underlying unity of purpose and effort. I can assure you that for someone like myself, who has the experience of travelling widely and seeing many people, the efforts being made and the achievements are truly impressive. I know that the people of Britain join me in wishing you rapid progress and the fullest success.

I am also particularly heartened by the spirit of inquiry and of ambition which is to be found everwhere among your younger people. All over the world there is so much to be done for the less fortunate, and it is upon the young generation in every country that atremendous responsibility will fall in days to come. We always welcome to Britain those from India who come to live and study among us, and who not only learn but also teach us something of their country. I hope to see even wider and deeper friendship developing between the youth of all our Commonwealth countries, so that the great varied talents which we have may be shared to our mutual advantage and to the advantage of the world.

I wish I could thank personally all the people who have been so kind and generous to us during our visit. I thank the President, who has been such a thoughtful and kindly host. I thank the Prime Minister and Government of India who have made it possible for us to see so much of your country in such a short time. I thank also the state governments for the care with which each visit was prepared and managed. Our special gratitude is due to the many members of the airlines, the railways, the post and telegraphs administrations, the defence services, and the police who worked so hard for us in so many ways.

But, above all, I express my thanks to the people of India as a whole. This visit, and your great welcome to us, have set the seal on the new relationship between India and Britain and on the abiding friendship between the two peoples. It has also shown that the new Commonwealth which came into being in 1947 is firmly based in the hearts and minds of the people as a means of co-operation for the peace and progress of mankind.

My husband and I send you our warmest thanks for your kindness and hospitality, and we wish you all the greatest heppiness and prosperity in the years to come.

This work is in the public domain worldwide because the work was created by a public body of the United Kingdom with Crown Status and commercially published before 1971.

See Crown copyright artistic works, Crown copyright non-artistic works and List of Public Bodies with Crown Status.