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Bush, Laura pray at sacred site

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, Mar 2: ''I am grateful to have the opportunity to honour Mahatma Gandhi at his sacred site,'' wrote US President George W Bush in the visitors' book at the Rajghat, the samadhi of the Father of the Nation.

Mr Bush and wife Laura, who found Rajghat a simple place, offered floral tributes at the mausoleum of Gandhiji this morning.

The President and the first lady spent 15 minutes at the samadhi after arriving at 0935 hrs following a ceremonial reception at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

''It's a very simple and beautiful place,'' Mr Bush told the members of the Rajghat Samadhi Committee including its co-chairperson and Gandhian Nirmala Deshpande.

Mr Bush and Laura removed their footwear before walking up to the samadhi. They stood in one-minute silence, placed a wreath, showered flower petals and circumambulated the samadhi.

''Both the President and his wife were very happy to be at the holiest of the holy places,'' said Rajnish Kumar, Secretary of the Rajghat Samadhi Committee.

Mr Bush and Laura were presented with several gifts, including a set of books written by Gandhiji, among them his autobiography 'My Experiments With Truth'.

The gifts also included a mini charkha, considered by Gandhiji as a symbol of freedom, and a khadi silk scroll with the 'seven social sins' shunned by Gandhiji written on it.

The first 'social sin', ''Politics without principles', impressed Mr Bush, the most powerful politician on the earth.

''The President liked the first social sin very much,'' Mr Kumar told sources.

The visitors also received a miniature bust of Gandhiji.

Before leaving, Mr Bush spend sometime to note down his thoughts in the visitors' book. ''I am grateful to have the opportunity to honour Mahatma Gandhi at his sacred site.

His life was an inspiration to people around the world and his contribution to all mankind place him among the great leaders of history.''

UNI

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