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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Obama, the leader of his nation

Published on :- Times Of
Date :- 08 November, 2008

Barack Obama's victory is more of a victory of American values and dreams and democracy. Whatever we say about the various presidential regimes and
their actions, the US has to be judged by the societal actions and the way it behaves. Obama's rise to the White House, enabled by the people of America, is the most important societal change since Martin Luther challenged the fossilized fallacies of the catholic Pope.

It has to be saluted and applauded. It’s unbelievable; it washes off all the sins of the US against their own people on the basis of the colour of the skin and race. It raises hopes of emancipation and a new sunrise among millions of subjugated and exploited people of the universe.

It gives hope.

In abundance. To everyone.

Bravo Americana.

Every word that Obama spoke, including his acceptance speech was like a fresh breeze. I could feel the thrill of it sitting in my home. I can quote it; it’s irresistibly quotable in full, his lines after lines. “If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.

“It's the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen; by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the very first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different; that their voice could be that difference.”

And to rewind a bit, what he said on 28th August, at Democratic National Convention after his nomination as the presidential candidate: “Four years ago, I stood before you and told you my story – of the brief union between a young man from Kenya and a young woman from Kansas who weren't well-off or well-known, but shared a belief that in America, their son could achieve whatever he put his mind to. It is that promise that has always set this country apart – that through hard work and sacrifice, each of us can pursue our individual dreams but still come together as one American family, to ensure that the next generation can pursue their dreams as well.” And he said: “America now is not the time for small plans.”

Simply invigorating.

He spoke so warmly about his rivals – Hillary, Bill, and finally McCain.

Only in America do we find such grace in victory. And such grace while bowing out – as we saw in McCain's last speech. It was great.

Yes Obama, I must confess, I got jealous of you and your nation who saw to it that a new American dream rises on your shoulders. Obama is certainly not just a president of the US; he is the leader of his nation.

Watching him speak, I saw my newspaper headlines – Assam, Kashmir. A dreadful ghetto called Delhi made up of those small-time players whose times and visions have passed out long ago. In reality they are the money collectors, awfully clever spenders and abusers of power. Who would never have any dream for India, any promises to be called – Indian promises. They divide us between Hindus and Muslims and then bring in their dads from abroad to threaten us with punitive actions and we meekly surrender gunning our own kith and kin, badmouthing our own heritage in hope of a green card.

Obama did exactly the opposite. He turned his alien-ness into a vivacious indigenised pride in the adopted soil's fragrance, legacy and promised to maintain continuity. He became one with the colours America wears.

I can see Obama becoming one of the most popular, strong and successful presidents the US has ever had. He has to be seen in the context of what he will be doing for America and the American people. Serving the American interest is his job, not serving anybody else's. It's the Indian leaders' job to serve India and face and defeat and maul Obama's actions and policies with full ferocity if he offends our interest and plays a dirty game on Kashmir. If our leaders are ready to sell off Indian interests to an alien, that would be our fault and not of the buyer's.

So be confident while praising a person who has led a revolution of sorts bringing unprecedented cheers to the people, in an election that is being termed as the first in the history of a great democracy. The most important aspect of his campaign and words that I felt was too good for us was his stress on the family values. Of late I had been thinking to find a chance to praise an ad campaign of our very own bank – the Union Bank of India (UBI). “Your dreams are not yours alone.” It brings tears to my eyes – values for parents, for mother, for wife and a sweet little chirpy sister.

Obama gave me this chance.

Whoever wrote the copy for this UBI ad series, and the one who approved it, must get a public felicitation. Your dreams are not yours alone. Yes, so very true. But we have become too rude and self-centred. Parents do not have time for the kids they gave birth to, and kids do not find enough warmth to care for their parents. But they donate money for old age homes. Rakhi doesn't mean a sister's love but its touted as a 'threat' on the Valentine’s Day and festivals get a scornful deconstruct for an 'obscurantism' and 'blind ritualism' that's a taboo in the modern, secular web India's alienated Macaulayist elite has woven for itself.

Gradually we are becoming rude and insensitive to relationships. India, if she stood on her own, would have become a beacon light to the rest of the world in preserving family values and protecting the eco system. But now we are forced to have to learn from those who have learnt it through their own turbulent times and mistakes.

Obama, by virtue of the position he held and his country possesses, highlighted these values through his own conduct and sincere words. His honesty, his caring attitude towards his mother and a sweet emotional remembrance of his grandma, his historical adulation to the 106-year-old voter who had faced discrimination just for the colour of her skin in an age when there were no airplanes, his assurances for a just and fair future, his selection of associates, everything looks exciting and makes us sigh – only if we too could have done that.

We are stuck here with a spineless, de-nationalised elite that takes a sadistic pleasure in attacking values that construct India, and a polity that shines most when it is subservient to others. Look at the “galaxy” of honest, impartial, dedicated leaders with an impeccable integrity – and I have to leave this space blank for you to fill because I can’t even try.

Those who analyse what Obama's rise would mean to us are wrong and yielding to the notion of supremacy of the US. The question that needs to be asked is – how our leaders will deal with Obama, the president and the policy maker for a nation that's looking like a dada to the rest of the world-thanks to his predecessor. Will our leaders again fall over each other to have a simple handshake with him? Like our honourable parliamentarians, especially the lady members, did when Clinton came to the central hall. And remember that was post-Monica Lewinsky.

Issues like terrorism, Kashmir, conversion through fraudulent means and insurgency in the northeast have to be tackled by an Indian leadership that stands for the nation and doesn't care whether the moves to crush and annihilate the wicked anti-nationals will translate into votes or not. So stand before Obama like an Obama and you will earn respect.

Obama, in spite of his different middle name, which raises eyebrows in times like these, and his first name that the spell check in your computer would try to "correct" to Osama, assured America about his sincerity and commitment to American values and to defending the nation's legacy and happiness.

While wishing well to the statesman Obama, we can only pray to have a person amidst us who can be a leader of our people, and not just a representative elected through various manipulations.

1 comment:

Shiv Mukherjee said...

Brilliant essay!!

It's high time for India to give us a statesman, rather than a leader or a politician!