India lost a friend in Polish Prez | world | Hindustan Times
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India lost a friend in Polish Prez

Polish President Lech Kaczynski was a great admirer of Indian democracy and a major critic of China. In an earlier meeting with IANS, the president had expressed his desire to visit India. He also had a soft corner for the Dalai Lama and always met him when the Tibetan spiritual leader came to Poland.

world Updated: Apr 11, 2010 00:12 IST
Surender Bhutani

Polish President Lech Kaczynski was a great admirer of Indian democracy and a major critic of China.

In an earlier meeting with IANS, the president had expressed his desire to visit India. He also had a soft corner for the Dalai Lama and always met him when the Tibetan spiritual leader came to Poland.

President Kaczynski, along with his twin brother Jarosalw, the leader of PIS, the main opposition party, have been very active for the past 10 years in Polish politics.

In the beginning, both brothers were close to Lech Walesa, the Solidarity leader. But within a few years they left Walesa after a bitter rift with him.

Kaczynski, a staunch Catholic, had given permission to set up the gurudwara, the only one in eastern Europe, when he was the Warsaw mayor. He also gave permission to build a Hindu temple in Warsaw. It attracts hundreds of devotees. He was also highly impressed by the Indian model of economic development.

The Indian community in Poland mourned the death of Kaczynski and said they had lost a “steadfast friend”.

“It is a terrible loss for us Indians as President Kaczynski has been a steadfast friend of India. We feel a personal loss in his untimely death,” said J.J. Singh, president of the Indo-Polish Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IPCCI) and president of Shri Gurudwara Committee in Warsaw.

There are approximately 3,500 Indians in Poland, mostly businessmen who migrated to cash on the economic boom after Warsaw opted for a free-market economy in 1989 and joined the European Union in 2004.

“We are going to have special prayers in gurudwara on Sunday in his memory and in the memory of many other Polish officials who also perished in the crash. They were equally helpful to us in their lifetime,” added Singh.

The Indian Association in Poland expressed shock and called it a “sad day in Polish history”. Similar announcements have been made by Indo-Polish cultural committees in Krakow and Warsaw. The Indian restaurants in Warsaw have cancelled their musical programmes to show their Polish counterparts that they stand by them in their moment of national grief. ians