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US President Bush on nostalgic trip to Rajghat

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New Delhi, Feb 28: This March 2, US President George Bush will take a 'trip down memory lane' as he visits Rajghat, the 'favourite destination' of every foreign dignitary in India.

When President Bush comes calling on Rajghat on Thursday, his would be much more than a "visit of a foreign Head of State to pay homage at the 'samadhi' of the Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi".

The US President's visit to the 'halo' precincts of Rajghat will take the dignitary on a 'nostalgic trip' in that it would bring back memories of his father and former US President George Bush's visit to Mahatma Gandhi's samadhi in 1984.

It will be an occasion for Bush Jr to see the mango tree planted by his father more than two decades ago.

During his visit to Rajghat in 1984, Bush Sr had planted a small sapling. The sapling has since grown into a big Mango Tree on which hangs a plate earmarking the date on which the then US president had planted it.

Says Man Kishore a gardner at Rajghat, "it has been more than 20 years since the then US president planted the sapling. Considering that many trees do not survive for more than 10-15 years, it is indeed a miracle that the Mango tree is still standing". Ever since it became known that Bush Jr will visit, several gardners have been entrusted with the task of taking care of the mango tree.

Some of the gardners told sources that President Bush Jr was also likely to plant a sapling, most probably near the spot where the Mango tree planted by his father stands.

"He might also want to look at the mango tree as it would be a trip down the memory lane", Kishore said.

Efforts are being undertaken to ensure that the venue is clean when Bush visits the memorial of the Father of the Nation.

Several workers and gardeners have been engaged in the past few days to spruce up the 1,000-acre lawn and flora at Mahatma Gandhi's samadhi.

Like every other venue where the US president is likely to visit, tight security arrangements have also been made at Rajghat.

The security measures being carried out include shutting down the Rajghat complex for visitors for 72 hours prior to Bush Jr's visit.

UNI

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