An India welcome for Barack H Obama!

Begin Obama

I have a confession to make. I never generated enough interest in watching an American President being sworn in to office. Even yesterday, for me it was an event meant for American Nationals and so I hadn’t planned on watching the inaugural ceremony. It must have been some kind of collective consciousness at work because I found myself sitting in front of the TV tuned into CNN at exactly the time the ceremony was to start. Scenes from Bruce Almighty and Oh God! flashed across my mind as I found myself watching the whole inauguration of the 44th President of the United Sates of America, Barack H Obama. Now I know that it was probably meant to be and I also know that he was meant to be. For the first time in my life, the TV was not playing a digital image. Mr. Obama was right there in my living room just a few yards away whom I could have chosen to meet or shake hands with had I wanted to. Such was the power I witnessed of the ‘human’ being he is. Welcome Barack, the First [ever] Citizen of the world – no nationality, no religion, no stature – just brutally human.

Barack’s (forgive the first name familiarity Mr. President. It’s you all the way, not me.) 18-odd minute speech was plainspeak. The media told us of his charisma, I saw his Honesty. When they said secular, I heard his Humanity. While they cloak his sermon on equality with ideological overtones, I’ll see his Humility. It’s fitting that his middle name is H.

The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

His smile was not affectated, it was genuinely warm, not a bit contrived, none to feed the image he’d want to project. His eyes moved across the sea of humanity from side to side. You could almost see his pupils shrink and grow as if he wanted to see each individual assembled on Capitol Hill and as though he was making an effort to make eye contact through camera lenses with each person watching him on electronic media. I am sure he looked at me at least once!

Funny thing is that I don’t remember all the things he said. I think I wasn’t even trying to listen the way we generally do. Because my ears are an inadequate instrument to hear a conversation between hearts. Actually I don’t even think I need to remember what he said since the papers have all of it transcribed and distributed in every imaginable format for those who would like to reference back. Strangely enough, even though I don’t remember his speech, I know everything he said and even more. My heart knows. Barack’s heart knows.

Barack’s pledge is not America’s mandate. It is the world’s. It is the pledge of each and every human being on earth – I quote from the transcript of his inaugural address –

… know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, …

Watch this space. Barack Obama will make mistakes, even falter at times. But one thing is certain. He will follow his heart and that is more than one can say about any other political leader of our times. Coming from an Indian in India that’s never lived in the US should speak about the power of Barack Obama’s disruption of present day world politics.

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3 thoughts on “An India welcome for Barack H Obama!

  1. Sunil speaks from the heart about an American, now that is sure a huge ‘chan9e’ ain’t it Sunil?

    Here are some pictures of how Mr. Obama prepared for his speech –

    What I see in the pictures is a friendly person in relaxed clothes and a confident smile. This is something to copy.

  2. Nandan Nilekani has echoed these sentiments on his blog. Here is an excerpt –

    I admit, I was moved while watching Barack Obama’s inaugural speech on TV. Obama sees himself as a post-partisan figure, whose election united blacks and whites. His victory certainly does not mean the end of racism in the US, but it is a sign that people can at least occasionally, and at critical moments, overcome tribalism when it comes to race and identity.

    To read the post go to A historic moment on Imagining India.

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