fifty years ago, JUNE 15, 1972 Archives

Mrs. Gandhi’s speech at the UN

Stockholm, June 14: The Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi to-day warned the U.N. Conference on human environment against an ecological crisis adding to the burdens of the weaker nations by the introduction of new considerations in political and trade policies of the rich countries. The fight against pollution should not be at the expense of the third world, she said. Poor countries should not become “museum pieces” in the name of environment. “It would be ironic,” Mrs. Gandhi told the 114-nation conference, if the fight against pollution were to be converted into another business out of which a few companies, corporations or nations would make profits at the cost of many. Mrs. Gandhi received a standing ovation from the conference delegates as she entered the hall and went up the dais and also when she ended her address described as an “inspiring” one by the Swedish President of the conference, Mr. Egmund Bengtsson. Despite a bungling by the United Nations Secretariat — a bulletin giving to-day’s agenda had said that the plenary session would meet at 10 O’ clock this morning and Mrs. Gandhi would speak at 3 p.m. — the spacious hall of “the folkets hus” (House of People) was packed to capacity. Mrs. Gandhi said that she was convinced that the unfinished revolution in developing countries could be taken to its culmination when it was accompanied by a revolution in social thinking.  After referring to various aspects of the problem of human environment, Mrs. Gandhi said that they were all interlinked and there was no alternative to a cooperative approach on a global scale to the entire spectrum of these questions. “The most urgent and basic question is that of peace,” she told the conference.

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