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Bush will water family tree

It is a tradition for visiting heads of state to plant saplings at Rajghat. But US President George W. Bush will not be following it.

india Updated: Feb 28, 2006 02:12 IST

It is a tradition for visiting heads of state to plant saplings at Rajghat. But US President George W. Bush will not be following it. Instead, he will just water a tree, whose roots can be traced to his father's visit to India.

The reason: lack of space at the Mahatma’s samadhi, confirms caretaker Rajneesh.

On May 14, 1984, the then US vice-president George Bush Sr had planted a mango sapling in the compound. Accompanied by wife Barbara, Bush Sr had spent more than 30 minutes at the Rajghat. “Mahatma Gandhi’s message is relevant even so many decades after his death,” Bush Sr had written in the message book.

Rajneesh says George W. Bush will be shown the now full-grown tree and will be presented with a copy of his father’s remarks. He will also get to take home a photograph of the tree.

Incidentally, not all saplings planted by US presidents over the years have survived. The ones planted by Dwight D. Eisenhower and Richard Nixon died though their visits proved to be more fruitful than expected.

Old-timers recall how Eisenhower addressed a huge crowd at Ramlila ground, winning hearts with his peace and friendship message.

They also have not forgotten Nixon and how he hopped out of his car three times to shake hands with the people on Delhi's roads during his 1969 visit.

But, of course, the current president will not be doing that either.

First Published: Feb 28, 2006 01:38 IST