Sonia honoured with Belgium's highest military order

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Brussels, Nov 11 (UNI) Visiting UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi here today fondly recalled her marriage to the late Rajiv Gandhi and said what she was today was largely because of being a member of ''the remarkable family'' into which she married and the love she received from the people of India.

Inaugurating the Tejas exhibition at BOZAR this evening, where she was honoured with the Grand Officer of the Order of Leopold by the Belgian Prime Minister Guy Varhofstadt which is one of three national honorary orders and the country's highest military order, she said, ''I am reminded of what my mother-in-law, Mrs Indira Gandhi, used to say - one's real education is in the university of life. What I am today is largely because of being a member of the remarkable family into which I married, and because of the love I have received throughout from the people who have accepted me as their own.'' She also received an honorary doctorate 'Honoris Causa' of Vrije Universitiet, Brussels (Free University of Brussels), from Professor B Van Camp, Rector of VUB.

Mrs Gandhi said she was ''truly overwhelmed by the singular honours you have bestowed upon me. I do believe that by conferring these distinctions, you are recognising not the individual that I am, but the values I have imbibed and stand for.'' Speaking about the Festival of India, Mrs Gandhi mentioned she had ''come to Europe after a decade and a half'', and added that Tejas ''symbolizes the enduring dynamism and creativity of Indian culture. Tejas profiles India's civilisational journey over 1500 years of a most formative period of its past.'' More XC PK GC2033

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