BY SHRI K.R.NARAYANAN, PRESIDENT OF INDIA,
AT THE DINNER HOSTED BY THE GOVERNOR OF AMAZONAS
MAY 3, 1998
Madame Mendes, Ladies and Gentlemen,
first of all, thank you, Mr. Governor, and, through you, the Government
of the State of Amazonas for the warm reception extended to me, my family
and members of my delegation.
to the people of Brazil the greetings and good wishes of the people of India.
It is appropriate that my visit to Brazil should start in Manaus, on the
banks of the Amazon - a river which is one of the wonders of nature and
a symbol of Brazil and of South America.
outside it is hard to think of Brazil without the Amazon and of the Amazon
without Brazil. The flow of this river is the flow of history, not only
of this country but also of this continent. As I beheld the confluence of
the two mighty rivers - Rio Negro and Rio Salimoes from the plane, I was
reminded of the confluence of the two most well known rivers of India -
the Ganga and the Yamuna. The colours of the two rivers are different and
remain distinct for many miles, before mingling and becoming one. The Ganga
represents the history and the civilization of India in a very deep and
abiding sense. As Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru wrote: "She has been a symbol
of India's age-long culture and civilization, ever-changing, ever-flowing,
and yet ever the same Ganga....a symbol and a memory of the past of India,
running into the present and flowing on to the great ocean of the future."
can be said of the Amazon, as indeed of Brazil.
country, your State and your lovely city, represent a vitality, a vibrancy,
that is quite unique. Those like us who come here feel the sensation of
the movement not only of an elemental river but of a great country and people
to a destined future.
who has been in this area even for a short time can fail to be impressed
by the splendour of its natural life or, to use the current phrase - bio-diversity.
Millions of species of flora and fauna of this region are of great value
medicinally and commercially. The vast rain forests of this region, in the
midst of which we are just now, play a significant role in purifying the
world's atmosphere. Surely the world, particularly the developed world with
all its affluence, owes something to those who own this natural treasure-house
and who have maintained it over the centuries.
struck by a poetic composition by an Amer-Indian poet that had come to my
attention recently: "The sky is held by trees. If the forest disappears,
the sky - The roof of the world - Collapses and Nature and Man perish together."
with great concern news of the forest fire that broke out in the north of
Brazil some weeks ago. Forest fires have also raged in recent weeks in South
East Asia. Recently, a tornado ripped through parts of our eastern coast
in India. During my visit to the Institute for Environmental Research tomorrow
I greatly look forward to seeing the work being done there for the protection
of the environment and for the use of the bio-diversity of this region for
the benefit of the people of Brazil and, indeed, of humankind.
we are told that the El Nino phenomenon is confined to this part of the
world, it is difficult to believe that there is no inter-connection between
the various natural occurrences around the globe we all live in. Sometime
ago some scientists in India Sought to establish a statistical correlation
between the El Nino phenomenon and the occurrence of monsoons in the Indian
of societies, likewise, is manifest. As we move into the next millennium,
we must consciously think of the web of life on earth as one organic whole
in which the health of one part is affected by the condition of others.
Here in Manaus amidst the Amazonian rain forests one feels the reality of
the inter-dependence of mankind, and of man and nature. Mr. Governor, my
delegation and myself are privileged to be here today, and on behalf of
all of us I convey to you our profound thanks for your warm welcome.
and Gentlemen, may I propose a toast to : - the good health and happiness
of Governor Mendes; - Madame Tarcila Mendes; and to - the friendly people
of the State of Amazonas.