Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Obama - India needs one too!

I am happy that Obama has won, creating history. But it is also fascinating how McCain has graciously accepted defeat.

We never see such speeches in India. Partly because we lack manners and what I would call a spirit of the 'greatest common good'.

But mainly because for the last few elections no one has really 'won'. It's not over till it's over. Horses must be traded, MPs herded into camps. Anything to get the magic number '272'. And then some.

What is also fascinating about Obama's win is that yes, he is the first African American to be elected to the highest office. But he reminds me very much of the story of Prahlad and Hiranyakashipu.

Hiranyakashipu had asked the Lord for a boon whereby he could not be killed - during day or by night, inside the home or outside, not on earth or on sky; neither by a man nor an animal; neither by astra nor by shastra.

But eventually Lord Vishnu took the form of a Narasimha (who is half-man and half-lion) and killed Hiranyakashipu at dusk (which was neither day nor night), on the steps of the porch of his house (which was neither inside the house nor outside) by restraining him on his lap (which is neither in the sky nor on the earth) and mauling him with his claws (which are neither astra nor shastra).

Obama is also neither black nor white. He is either/or and at the best of times, both. Black enough yet 'white' enough. Especially in education and outlook.

Obama was created in a different mould because he was destined to slay the Demon of Race.

And here in India one has to wonder when we will see an 'Obama' who will help us rise above our differences. And lead us into 'change we can believe in'...

Not in 2009... but someday for sure.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. well - didn't really get the Narsimha parallel you drew with Obama..but reason for comment is to bring to notice a small mistake ..
    " ..Prahlad took the form of Narsimha ..." ??!!
    Its Lord Vishnu who took that avatar ..

    (may be the blogathon fatigue is showing .. :) )

  3. thanks Snehal, mistake accepted and corrected.

  4. One thing that is fascinating about Mccain is, he never ever used the middle name of Obama in the campaign nor any kind of racial comment or even the african-americn - Black or Coloured word ..

    He never ever tried to remind people that his opponent is black .. So that shows a healthy rivalry and it should be this way only ..

    I hope someday in India, we too can have such healthy rivalry and our leaders too can concede defects graciously !!

  5. I meant ** defeats graciously **

  6. Indian politicians cannot even hope to compare to their American counterparts for a long long time now, not until the mindset of the even the general public changes.

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. Friends,

    To all those who think US politics is better than Indian politics.

    please, politicians are same very where. All they want is power.Here are some of the low points of campaign.

    1. Palin calling Obama terorist (

    2. Palin being chosen as running mate just because she can swing Christian votes.

    3. Obama team focusing on Palin's wardrobe bill.

    So the campaign has been as dirty as an Indian election with a lot of personal attacks (on Palin's daughters pregnancy, for example). Reading a prepared speech at the end means nothing.

    If the US politicians accept defeat graciously, pray explain Florida in 2000.

    And finally, I would like to reiterate what Zakir Hussain (former Indian president) told those who said he being president is a victory for secularism in India - "India can be truly secular only if people stop thinking of me as a Muslim president." Similarly US have to stop considering Obama as a black president, but will they?

  9. Didnt get the point at all. So is race eliminated from calculations. I think his appeal was his race and background....he is different and represents the changing face of US.
    His speech for change is what won him the election and race was a big factor contributing to it

  10. we should always be positive and you said someday our obama will come young,energetic and a leader who will take india to make again sonne ki chidiya.

  11. Yes Rashmi, I agree with you, we need a person who rises above the politics that clogs the government and elections, is more focused on the problems of the nation and plays a selfless role for the country.

  12. US is oldest and more matured democracy than India, I guess there is no point comparing with USA.Blacks dont have voting rights till 60's, there electoral
    roles are messed up, American youth never participated in there democracy except for this elections, there politicians screwed there country but of course we can learn from positives things ..a ethnic minority candi winning elections is gr8 news

    And u will never see Indian Obams, we need to create Indian obamas..would u like to
    do that before cribbing???

  13. Wow , you echoed my sentiments. While going through newspaper this morning this article about how graciously McCain accepted his defeat and offered his support to Obama caught my attention. We, in India, have to go many miles before we see similar political figure here. Meanwhile congratulations to Obama.


  15. Politicians like Sachin Pilot and Omar Abdullah are our answers to Obama!!
    Just listen to the passionate speech made by Omar Obdullah in Lok sabha sometime back about the amarnath issue to get the feel.

    The one thing that favored Obama was the huge involvement of youth in US elections.
    Politicians in India know that the urban youth dont bother to vote - and that votes can be gathered by playing the caste, creed or exploitation card. Unless the youth becomes heavily involved in our political processes, no big change can come in India.

  16. staying in india, it doesnt really matter whether the american president is black or white, bt yes..!!! he there not bcoz of just one reason, so even i am happy that he is REALLY gonna bring some change.
    Commenting about Indian politics, i think, its all cat-mouse game that the youngsters are no more interested, though we do hav a close watch (may b expections of obama in future)

  17. As an Indian i am not interested in a Politician like Obama.There are many admirable quality amongst Indians.We still got to Admire the sacrifice of Sonia Gandhi when she turned down the primeministership.

    We got to admire Vajpayee for Moving our economy with the Golden Quadrilateral Project.

    We got to admire the Indian People who on their own are building this great country inspite of Politicians.

    We got to admire our democracy which survived with a brief interruption in 1975.

    We got to admire we are Indians & treated like one in Mumbai, Delhi Calcutta Bangalore or Chennai.

    We got to admire in our diversity we have found unity. We are not a collection of red states or blue states , We are not a northern or southern states , We are not states of Brahmins Banias SC ST Muslims or christians.

    I do not know about you, I cannot see a better country than India in this world. We have our challenges but the people of India collectively win & we do not need one individual to inspire hope. We need the Billions to inspire hope with our markets, our bollywood, our IIT , Our colleges & we unite with this song Jana Gana Mana.

  18. I just wanted to add one more thing. US is a country which is far more divided than India. Their nature is not to trust anyone.Even remotely we should not associate connecting with them in our philosophy or goals.They are a society of hate not love.

    I think we had some terrific leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru who have been vastly underestimated. He Inherited a country from the British where we had poverty,no industry & no Capital.

    We will make progress it may be slow & sometimes frustrating. As a point of action i would think we need to move away from idolizing a individual and commit to a pluralistic form of government which is our parliament. A solitary head can sabotage the dreams of our country.

    What we need to learn from Obama campaign is he could rally millions of people through the Internet.His troops were visible everywhere & he ran a far more professional campaign. He was strategical in his message where he tied mccain to bush & had put him on the defensive,he appealed to his constituents with his socialistic messages of tax & forced the whites to purge their guilt of being racist. It is very admirable that a man with such a thin resume can end up becoming the president.The stars also obeyed his command by getting him a lowsy ecoomy so the cry for " change we need " & "yes we can" rhymed very well.

  19. This comment has been removed by the author.

  20. I disagree with "politicians are the same everywhere" excuse. Agreed that each politician wants power and money, but the means, and the extent to which they fall usually differentiates them.

    Focusing on wardrobe bill or pregnancy of the daughter is nowhere as bad as the abysmal havoc in the UP assembly in 2002; if our politicians go to any lower levels, they would be digging underground.

    It might be interesting to visualize what would happen if there was an Obama in India.

  21. I didn't understand the analogy, but do completely agree that Americans in general are better behaved than we in India could hope to (the ever present American superficial plastic smile not withstanding). McCain did accept defeat graciously, and perhaps any other contender here would have done that way and that's something we could learn from them.

    My roommates here don't agree though, on the Obama part. They were both pro-McCain, but his appointment of Palin brought his judgment into question. McCain is too old, and should something have happened to him, they didn't want to be ruled by that lady. And the sinking economy was the final straw. Any one but a republican should rule!

    I must give it to Obama though that he is an awesome orator. I was at the post-election rally and he definitely is a charmer and a crowd puller. But they say, so was Jim Carter :)

  22. It seems that people have forgotten the incident in UP assembly; the video should be good enough - to remind us of the abysmal level that Indian politicians have fallen to, and are digging further deeper.

  23. its been lots written that we need an OBAMA, a difference...
    But are we Indians ready for a difference ever??? Like
    Any slightest deviation from normal, reports as "sentiments hurt" in the breaking news...
    All serials which have increased glycerine demand are still preferred over sitcoms like Siddhanth which dealt with sensible issues.

    I think the real issue is that we still are in search of a new leader who will BRING THE CHANGE!!! My question is Y? y we need someone? dont we have heads? we know wats good wats bad... but then we need someone to do our work....
    Look at agony aunt's columns, the spiritual channels!!! we know the questions n the best answers to them... Still we need someone to assure that we are not wrong or we are not fools to think that way!!!

    May be wat v need is to shun the deadliest attitude i.e. "CHALTA HAI", "4get it jaane dena yaar"
    Lets be sensible ourselves n we all might find an OBAMA within!!!!

  24. Ankesh,

    Don't get disheartened, the internet has been an excellent medium to raise & focus on issues. There are a few channels like Indian Offstump which have started raising the issues.

    Unfortunately we have been misled grossly by the media & news channels like NDTV & CNN IBN, they have narrowly focussed their TRP & never brought intelligent analysis.

    Obama won the elections in US since 95% blacks voted for him,people have plenty of grievance against him about chicago corrupt business men, his judgement when it comes to link with terrorist like ayers or his lie when he used private money against public money of mccain. The media in the US has been accused of one sided coverage for him especially the left leaning one like CNN & MSNBC.Just also look at how the dow jones has greeted Obama after his presidency.You may not know this Manmohan Singh was worked up for not getting a call from Obama, on the contrary Putin told Obama i will decide the time when i will talk to you. Imagine if you had vajpayee do you think we as a country would have been insulted.

    What you need in India is Equal Laws for every citizen, We need to question why our central govt debt went upto $400Bn from $200BN when we had a great business boom in the past 5 years. We need to ask on Inflation, we need to ask why the congress never came out with a energy policy when we were deficient for past 5 centuries.

    India's stature believe it or not went up after vajpayee became our Primeminister. To understand our foreign policy just read the book of steve tallbot engaging India.You will see the competancy of a Government which was in action at that time.They unleashed the India Potential & were the true owners for moving our economy from $500Bn to $1Trillion.

  25. Yes, Obama's victory is a truly historic event. Now let's see what he does with the economic crisis.

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