Friday, June 13, 2014

Former King Norodom Sihanouk considers Indian leader Nehru as His Guru

Posted by weekly on February 6, 2013

Indian leader Nehru ( left ) and Cambodia’s former King Nordom Sihanouk ( right) were taken perhaps in 1950s.

PHNOM PENH: His majesty former king Norodom Sihanouk considered Indian leader Jawaharlal Nehru as his Guru (teacher). In his book: charisma and leadership: the human side of great leaders of the twentieth century, former king Norodom Sihanouk said: Jawaharlal Nehru was the first of non-aligned leader whom I had the pleasure to meet and, like any first experience in the presence of a great man, he left an indelible impression, beyond that, as Cambodia owes its cultural roots to India, I respected his wisdom and he became one of my Guru.”

Former king also recalled: In 1955, the year I made first official visit to India. I had abdicated my title of king to my father in order to assume the position of (an elected) prime minister and have a more direct role in running the government.

“My fraternal friendship with Nehru, since our previous meeting, had deepened.” Former king said in his book. “He (Nehru) came to meet me at New Delhi international airport and lay a fragrant garland of flowers around my neck, a touching and noble sign of welcome.” we were to meet again that same year at the first summit of the afro-Asian countries and once again in 1961 in Belgrade, at the first summit conference of the Non-aligned countries.

Our first meeting took place in Phnom Penh. Nehru, accompanied by his charming daughter, Indira Gandhi, who was to succeed him later as prime minister, visited Cambodia in 1954, shortly after our independence ( in 1953 from France), between 1955, and the early sixties, but before his death in 1964, I had been to India and met Nehru on many other occasion, both official and private visits.

“I enjoyed being in his company and he enjoyed receiving me in the privacy of his comfortable house, which was elegantly furnished and offered a pleasing blend of British comfort and Indian interior decoration and art,” former king Norodom Sihanouk said.

The theme of my conversations with the leaders of that era reflected their personalities. With Nehru the mood was always serious, contemplative, and philosophical. I felt I was in the presence of a very rare teacher, or even an older brother and I have much to learn. Nehru spent many hours explaining his views on non-alignment and pantjasila, the former king recalled in his book.

To honor the ties between India and Cambodia, in city of Phnom Penh, a road named after Jawaharlal Nehru Boulevard, which links with Preah Norodom Sihanouk Bolevard. And a big public near old market in Phnom Penh downtown also named after Mahatma Gandhi.

former king Norodom Sihanouk passed away on October 15, 2012 at the age of 90 in a hospital in Beking of China. and his body was cremated on feb 4, 2013 and his ashes were dropped into Tonle Sap river in front of the royal palace in Phnom Penh. at the same time, 16 foreign delegations from asean region, Asia and Europe attended the ceremony attended his cremation.

(By Chhang Longheng)

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