Friday, 9 November 2012

India International Center

One day in 1982, Shri Nathji has a sudden desire to visit India International Center, which he had visited last in 1971 only. It is an unexplainable desire. But HH Priya Nath and Shri Nathji drive out there in a taxi alone. They walk around for a while and then decide to have tea in the lounge. But the manager there says that only members can be served tea, and since neither Shri Nathji nor HH Priya Nath were members he regretted not being able to serve them anything.
They discover that the taxi driver has temporarily driven off, perhaps to have tea somewhere close-by himself. And so they return to the Center and make their way to the library and the auditorium. Shri Nathji loves the auditorium there, which contains chairs covered with a golden yellow cloth–the same colour as that of his turban. They stand at the doorway and admire the hall.
“Yahaan to bolne ko jee kartaa hai,” says Shri Nathji at the sight of the hall, “The hall here makes me feel like giving a sermon!” Just then a friend of Shri D. N. Sinha, a certain Shashi Bhushan Saran, comes out of the library and greets Shri Nathji:
“Maharaj! What a great coincidence,” he says, “I had been thinking of you all day long.” India International Centre became clear. It was to meet Shri Saran, whose inner voice had been calling out to him And then Shri Saran insists that Shri Nathji and HH Priya Nath have tea with him in the lounge. He is a member of the India International Center. Neither HH Priya Nath nor Shri Nathji had told him of their desire to have a tea there–it appears that their desire had entered Saran’s heart through Shri Nathji's divine power alone.
There, in the tea lounge, even as Shri Nathji, HH Priya Nath and Saran have tea and sandwiches, Shri Nathji pours forth his Divine Grace on Saran in the form of a beautiful sermon.
The India International Centre is located at 40, Max Mueller Marg, Lodhi Estate  New Delhi. Considered one of the country’s premier cultural institutions, the India International Centre is a non-government institution widely regarded as a place where statesmen, diplomats, policy makers, intellectuals, scientists, jurists, writers, artists and members of civil society meet to initiate the exchange of new ideas and knowledge in the spirit of international cooperation. The idea of the India International Centre first came up in 1958, when Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, then Vice President of India, and Mr. John D. Rockefeller III discussed setting up a centre for the ‘quickening and deepening of true and thoughtful understanding between peoples of nations’. Mr. Rockefeller suggested an International House on the model of Tokyo’s International House of Japan. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, then Prime Minister of India, was so enthused by the idea that he personally took interest in the selection of the beautiful 4.76 acres site adjacent to Lodi Gardens, on which the present complex stands. Later, as the activities of the Centre expanded, an Annexe was added to the main complex in December 1996.
Dr. C. D. Deshmukh, then Chairman of the University Grants Commission (UGC), was identified by Dr. Radhakrishnan as the person who would be able to set up such an institution.  Dr. Deshmukh invited Joseph Allen Stein to be the architect of the Centre’s building. Funds were raised from the Rockefeller Foundation, and from 37 Indian universities.
In November 1960, Crown Prince Akihito of Japan laid the cornerstone for the superstructure. The building was completed by 22 January 1962 and inaugurated by Dr S. Radhakrishnan. Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, John D. Rockefeller III and many prominent citizens and intellectuals of Delhi were also present on this historic occasion.

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