Prime Minister Narendra Modi who is on his first official state visit to the US was welcomed by President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden at the White House on Wednesday. The leaders also exchanged various gifts during an intimate dinner hosted at the White House for PM Modi.
PM Modi gifted Biden a special sandalwood box and a book titled ‘The Ten Principal Upanishads’, translated by WB Yeats, an Irish poet who has been admired by Joe Biden. A master craftsman from Jaipur handcrafted the special sandalwood sourced from Mysore. The box had carved flora and fauna patterns on it.
Inside the box, there was a silver idol of Shree Ganesha, a silver diya, 10 silver boxes that contained symbols – Das Danam or the ten donations, and a copper plate. A family of fifth-generation silversmiths from Kolkata handcrafted the idol of Ganesha and the silver diya. The ‘das danam’ are gifted to a person who has seen one thousand full moons or has become ‘Drishta Sahasrachandro’ after reaching the age of 80 years and eight months.
This custom involves honoring and celebrating human life when it reaches this age. The custom requires a donation of 10 different things which include- Gaudaan (cow), Bhudaan (land), Tildaan (sesame seeds), Hiranyadaan (gold), Ajydaan (ghee), Dhaanyadaan (food grains), Vastradaan (clothes), Raupyadaan (silver), and Lavandaan (salt). This celebration is known as Sahasra Poorna Chandrodayam.
PM Modi also had gifts for First Lady Jill Biden. He gifted her a lab-grown 7.5-carat green diamond and a papier mache, the box in which the diamond was kept. Made by skilled artisans from Kashmir, it is also known as ‘kar-e-kalamdani’.
On the other hand, the US President will be presenting PM Modi with an antique, handmade American book galley from the 20th century as an official gift. According to the White House, they will also give Modi an antique American camera, a hardback book of American wildlife photography, and an archival facsimile image of George Eastman’s patent for the first Kodak camera.