Mar 23, 1947


Nehru Memorial Museum and Library

The Asian Relations Conference was held at Purana Qila (Old Fort), New Delhi from 23rd March to 2nd April 1947

A view of the main entrance to the Auditorium  where Plenary Sessions of the Conference were held
                                     Delegates in procession to the venue of the Conference
                                         Indian Delegates arriving at the Conference – 23 March 1947
Sarojini Naidu, President of the Asian Relations Conference

Opening Plenary Session -- 23 March 1947.

Welcome Address of Sir Shri Ram, Chairman of the Reception Committee:

“The delegates, I believe, represent easily more than half the world’s population, even omitting Japan and Korea, whose representatives we miss here today, and if we add the observers also this Conference will represent the much greater part of the whole world."

                                              Jawaharlal Nehru greeting Tibetan delegation
              Sarojini Naidu greeting the Hon’ble Justice Kyaw Myint, Leader of the Burmese Delegation
                      Dr Burhanuddin, Leader of the Delegation from Malaya being greeted by Jawaharlal Nehru
Jawaharlal Nehru with Dr. Hugo Bergmann (Professor of Philosophy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem), Leader of ten-member Jewish delegation from Palestine and also with David Hachoen, Israeli Politician

Sarojini Naidu’s Address -- 23 March 1947

 “You will wonder why a mere woman has been chosen to occupy the great place of honour today. The answer is simple. India has always honoured her women........This Purana Qila, this historic ruin, the broken arches---what do they signify? They signify the dawn of history, the history of many forgotten ages. And they also symbolize the dawn of a new era beckoning today....”

                               Jawaharlal Nehru Addressing the Conference – 23 March 1947

Jawaharlal Nehru’s Welcome Address -- 23 March 1947

 “We stand at the end of an era and on the threshold of a new period of history. Standing on this watershed which divided two epochs of human history and endeavor, we can look back at our long past and look forward to the future that is taking shape before our eyes. Asia, after a long period of quiescence, has suddenly become important again in world affairs.”

                      Jawaharlal Nehru among the Delegates of the Conference -- 23 March-2 April 1947
Inter-Asian Art Exhibition: Indian Pavilion – Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, J.B. Kripalani and others -- 24-25 March 1947

Exhibitions held during the Conference -- 24 March-2 April 1947.

Inter-Asian Art Exhibition

The Science Exhibition

The Archaeological Exhibition

 Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit reading out the message that had come from, ‘a great Chinese friend’, Dr Tai Chi-táo, -- 24 March 1947
Delegates watching cultural progrmme of the conference; Jawaharlal Nehru squatted on the floor while Lady Mountbatten, Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit and others seated in a Sofa – 28 March 1947
Dr. Sutan Sjahrir, Premier of Indonesia with Jawaharlal Nehru at Asian Relations Conference
                                  Mahatma Gandhi along with Jawaharlal Nehru and Tibetan Delegation – 1-2 April 1947
                               Dr. Sutan Sjahrir, Premier of Indonesia addressing the Conference -- 1 April 1947
                          Jawaharlal Nehru with Mahatma Gandhi and Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan -- 2 April 1947

Speech of Mahatma Gandhi, Group Plenary Session -- 2 April 1947.

“The representatives of all Asian Powers and Asian peoples have come together. Is it in order to wage war against Europe, against America, against non-Asian? I say emphatically ‘no’. This is not India’s mission and I am free to confess that I would feel extremely sorry if India, having won her independence essentially or rather predominantly through non-violent means, was going to use it for the suppression of other parts of the world – let alone Asian powers – of European powers because they have exploited the different races inhabiting this vast continent called Asia.”

                     Jawaharlal Nehru greeting delegates during Dinner and also seen Indira Gandhi and Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit
              Jawaharlal Nehru at dinner table with Muhammad Yunus, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan and other delegates

Closing Plenary Session 2nd April 1947

The Closing Plenary Session met once again at Purana Qila (Old Fort), New Delhi in the evening of 2nd April 1947 with Mrs. Sarojini Naidu conducting the proceeding in her role as the chairperson.

                                    Mahatma Gandhi addressing the Closing Plenary Session -- 2 April 1947

Speech by Mahatma Gandhi at Closing Plenary Session

“… You friends have seen not the real India. Delhi, Bombay, Madras, Calcutta, Lahore, all these are big cities and have been influenced by the West…. See perhaps a few villages of India. Then you will find the real India. Today I will make this admission also that you will be fascinated at the sight....

Speech by Dr. Sutan Shariar, Prime Minister of Indonesia at the Closing Plenary Session -- 2 April 1947.*

 “We from Indonesia deeply appreciate the reasons which have led to the inauguration of this Conference, namely, the desire to see the Asian continent rise to its full stature, not in any spirit of hostility or as a threat to those in other lands, but purely in order to provide Asians the opportunity to plan and execute orderly and coordinated development along humanistic and international lines.”

Sarojini Naidu’s Address at the Closing Plenary

 “We are reborn in the crucibles of many sufferings and we have emerged as pure gold, the gold of Asian consciousness, of wisdom, scholarship, culture, fellowship, service, dedication, dignity of the human spirit, and the oneness of man."

             Sarojini Naidu, President of the Conference and Jawaharlal Nehru with women volunteers of the Conference
                                    B. Shiva Rao and other Indian delegates
                                                             Indian Group at discussions
Credits: Story

Role — Conceived By: Prof. Mahesh Rangarajan, Director, NMML.
Role — Supervised By: Dr. N. Balakrishnan, Deputy Director, NMML.
Role — Consultant: Ms. Deepa Bhatnagar, Head Research Publications Division, NMML.
Role — Curated  By: A.Selvam, Research Officer, Oral History Division, NMML.

Credits: All media
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