07 November 2008

Obama, World, India and Wings of fire.

I was posting a comment on Indian home makers post " why am I jealous of americans" and realised that the comment was becoming too long and hence this post.

The world is euphoric over the election of Barack Obama, presidential elect. As Vinod Sharma puts it "he is no messiah", but he is a bridge of hope. A face of reconciliation in the face of oil drinking politicians of America who ruled the world with their communist principles and violated their own constitution and came up with a book about the constitution. Just a day before Mayor Bloomberg of NY city amended the NY state constitution to run again for the third term while some citizens stood up to say that it is a bad idea while some others said it is good. However a student ( looked like she is from high school )stood before a large audience and said that the mayor is “cheating” by amending the election rules, to serve his own selfish interest.

Across the blogworld I read people from many countries honeymooning over the fact that Obama became President and wants one for their own country. Equally elated as I am for this election result I am dead sure that their was an Obaman moment and time in every country's history.

if you are from India or from Spain or France or South Africa we should know that you have your Obamas in your land. That is why you had a revolution and a renaissance in your history and freed yourself from apartheid. You marched against churches and against kings . You threw out queens who oppressed your people. But you forgot the momentous occasions and chugged on living a life and taking everything for granted and became lazy to stand up and fight in times of injustice put up by the very own government you elected. The same happened to America 8 years ago and sometimes in between. Tired, Intimidated and wounded American’s chose their Gandhi in Obama who was willing to stand up when nobody knew him.

We do not have to be envious of what America has chosen.In India we have had our Tilaks who brought the community together, Our Bhagat Singh who did not hesitate to kill the unjust, Our Bose, who thought differently from Gandhi’s methods and went out and created his own army and fought for what he believed in. Our Raja Ram Mohan Roy had the guts to marry a widow under stiff opposition from his landlord family breaking societal and cultural norms and Dr. Ambedkar who emancipated the scheduled castes and wrote the constitution. With time we forgot our moments of jubiliation.

Power corrupted British educated Nehru led and built the foundations of the Indian raj.People like Vallabhai Patel were reduced to no-nothing-phenomenon in the Indian parliament because Nehru and his croonies were scared of what he could do. Finally the dagger was put into the socialistic phenomenon of the Indian Raj and its ways by Narsimha Rao along with Manmohan Singh who finally emerged from the Nehru / Indira Gandhian pallu by liberalizing the indian economy.

India does not have to look for its Obama elsewhere. He was just there in power 2 years ago - Our 12th of President of India Dr. Abdul Kalam. He is “Our kalam”, a phenomena, like the nuclear test he and his team conducted in 1997 right in front of the eyes of the world.I first saw President Kalam and heard him in August 1996 at a convocation ceremony and realized that I was seeing one of the greatest men in the world at that very moment. In his 5 years of presidency he had a vision of and for INDIA –INDIA 2020. He is our today’s Gandhi. He is greater than Barack Obama, because he saw a vision for the largest democracy in the world to become the most powerful democracy.

President Kalam showed again that India has power and we can use it fearlessly and courageously. He stole the thunder under the feet of everybody he met and heard. I told proudly to my fellow class mates, the person who masterminded the nuclear test in India and held the world 's attention in 1997 is my president. { And if you must know the response of some of my Washingtonian classmates ( all navy, military and air force ) was, it is one of India’s most intelligent moment.}

Fearless and ruthless about possibilities President Kalam lived the phenomena in the face of contrary. As American’s rallied around their Obama, I wonder why we did not amend the constitution to extend one more term for Abdul Kalam, a scientist who studied among the portals of India's own educational institutions and became its 12th president.They say when we loose our faith we look back and when we worry we look around. India has what it needs to be the most powerful nation of the world. We failed to realize our power for many years and may be we were scared of unleashing the power when our very own nehruvian government oppressed us. And those who have realized the power are being killed, thwarted, ridiculed and put under house arrest. The country that carries the weight of intelligence and power among the millions who rallied around Gandhi in the non-cooperation moment is still the India (only better) who needs to recognize the voice and existence of President Kalam who lives among them.

We need to realize and recognize. Realization of who we are, what we are capable of and whom to choose in the government and Stand up. For five minutes in a day when we stand up to be a Gandhi and for another five minutes a day stand up to become a Bhagat Singh and for yet another five minutes a day to become Vivekananda we will have begun to create a phenomenon and recognize these phenomenon in others. And for 1 hour a day stand up and become a Abdul Kalam . If Gandhi became a “Mahatma” to the world for his Non-Violence and inspired Obama to STAND UP, President Kalam gave us ‘Wings of fire" in OUR times. The Obama that we are looking for is right here standing among our midst.

Notes: Mahatma Gandhi and Indira gandhi are not related to each other.And they are millions of miles apart of what they thought, talked and practised.


odzer said...

Kalam was a one term president. He could have been elected a second time so there was no need for a constitutional amendment. Although he was at a disadvantage because he was put in place by the previous NDA government. A president in India should be able to work with any government in place and I think the UPA would have wanted their own person like any other government. Expecting an elected government to hang on to a person appointed by the previous one is just asking too much.

I agree with you that every country at one time or another makes a call for change. In any case I saw his first press conference today. He seemed rather tired and confused. I think as time passes he is gonna emerge more self confident. May be he does not do that well without a speech writer :-)

corine said...

Excellent post. The expectation is huge. We've been feeling walled-in. Criticisms were seen as anti-american. Now all the bloggers are feeling safe to cheer.

Indian Home Maker said...

Lovely. Beautifully written. Abdul Kalam and Gandhi are every Indians dream leaders. I agree even today we have, amongst billions of us, plenty of Obamas, the difference between us and the Americans is that they forgot their personal prejudices, and divides to choose Obama. Indians of today have elected forgers, murderers, thieves and hoodlums to power. Election of Obama can become an example for Indians. America has made mistakes too, but this one time, they have chosen very well. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is one such person in India. He may not speak as well as Obama, but he has shown that whenever he is allowed to act, he has acted well. I was proud of him recently when he condemned anti North Indian violence - unequivocally - in Maharashtra :) He is a rare gem, before him we have seen the likes of Modi, who allowed citizens in Gujrat to be killed, and Vajpeyee who supported him by being ambivalent, Mayawati and Lalu Yadav with court cases against them .... we vote for the kind of guys we would never dare invite home for dinner !!

Vinod_Sharma said...

An, I think this is the best post written by you that I have read. Such a flow happens only in moments of inspiration. The 'Obama Effect' is clearly going to give wings to the hopes and aspirations of many across the world. And he hasn't even taken over.

An, I completely agree with you that in Kalam, we probably have more than an Obama. In fact, considering the divisive political mess that all political parties, without exception, have made and the manner in which governance has bee forgotten by most, perhaps the need of the hour is to put in place a 'national government' for at least 10 years. And there is no more bipartisan and visionary a leader than Abdul Kalam to head that government and choose his political and administrative team without full freedom.

Vinod_Sharma said...

Last line, read 'with full freedom' and not 'without full freedom'.

Anrosh said...

odzer, i read you about the amendment.
press conferences are not so very easy - we want to hear "pellets of wisdom" everytime the guy opens his mouth. i am sure he'll soon start doing and talking.

corine, even new yorkers ( even the boisterous ones ) were scared to talk ..their body language spoke louder words of disgust for the bush and cheney fiasco. even window displays in stores had interesting takes.
Thanks Corine.

indian home maker - the problem with vajpayee is he does not have a spine ( he does not lack the understanding ) of what use it is when one had a spineless prime minister. sadly the majority of indians are politically illiterate.

you couldn't have put it better "we vote for the kind of guys ....dinner"
Thanks IHM.

Hello Vinod..you seem to cheer me up always. thanks vinod.
the day that i met kalam is all so alive even after 12 years. the kalam, manmohan singh partnership would have been tremendous.

pink dogwood said...

very well said Anrosh. We all have great expectations - hope we learn to be patient as well and don't expect miracles overnight.

kochuthresiamma p .j said...

great post.
i like the idea_"Obama is America's Gandhi'.
Dr Abdul Kalam - great man who continue to inspire people, particularly the cmapuses, but dont u think we need someone younger? and does he have politics in his blood?

Anonymous said...

Well written anrosh. One must understand that the differences in American society are mainly economic and political. I dont think there is a great antagonism between whites and blacks or asians and blacks here. This is not true in India, the Hindu-Muslim antagonism is a pan Indian thing and then within each states there are conflicts, some stoked for no reason, some are quite legitimate.

I have a candidate, someone you have never heard of, his name is Kiren Rijiju. He has actually shown competence as a Lok Sabha MP representing his constituency, he is on the standing committee on energy and has taken a strong stance on national security. He is very young (37-38), talented and has reached the national secretary position of the BJP, but I dont know if the RSS will allow the BJP to field him as a PM candidate (given his 'looks' and state of origin).

Anrosh said...

pink dogwood:great expectations produces great actions..

kochuthresiamma p.j: indeed campuses are the right places where minds need to be ignited.

do you think dr. kalam rose to power without "politics in his blood ?"
before a mission is created, a vision is what sets the tone - which president kalam did and is still doing.

hello vikram..the antagonism between the colors in this country are subtle. you won't see this in the campuses but you will hear them loud and clear elsewhere. of course what we have in india is a completely different set of variables. and ever since 9/11 - the muslim, brown colored variables have also been added ( some day i will blog about this) and all these exist at work places (other than universities) too

i have lived in TN..so i can tell you the color card still exists.

Thank You for pointing me to kiren Rijiju.i had no clue.

Anser Azim said...

Very kind words for President Abdul Kalam and beautifully written. I believe Mr Obama can fullfill his promises that he has made to the American people and we will see in the next four years how he handles the American economy and most importantly establishment of American justice and the ideals human rights. American image was badly damaged on some of these issues under the umbrella of Mr Bush.
In India we have some 400 million unlettered Indians even today and thats the biggest concern I have.
I hope we can eradicate this evil in the coming fifty years from our society. At the same time India is also plagued by cast system and hope we will have religious leaders from the Dalit community who can be given the same respect as is given to few chosen ones from one particular cast.


anser azim, chicago

prerna said...

Nicely written post, straight from the heart.
//We don't need to be jealous of Obama//- he has yet to prove himself.Post emergency when Janata Party came to power in India, there was jubilation and hope all over the country and remember those were the days when we had no satellite television and 24x7 news channels.Hope turned into disappointment very soon.Governing a country is a serious business. Obama's victory means a lot and has a lot of symbolic importance.Let us hope he does well for his country and the world.
About Dr Kalam, I am a big fan of Our former presidentyet I am not sure he is capable of winning an election.He is the peoples president I agree but in an election crores of illiterate and poor voters matter a lot more than the urban and educated ones. Their priorities are different. Dr Kalam was a very good president and apart from the Buta Singh affair carried himself in a very dignified and a non-partisan manner,still governing a country like India needs lots of political acumen.We may make fun of Manmohan Singh being a puppet of Sonia Gandhi but I am sure he wouldn't have survived nearly a full term of government without her.Stability is very important for a government and with the kind of divisive politics we have,we need somebody who can manage these rascals we call politicians.

kochuthresiamma p .j said...


Anrosh said...

hello anser anzim: Thank you. India is a complex society. There is much work to be done.

hello Prerna: as you say"obama" is symbolic existence of the hope. and the indian news media seems be having a field day trying to find obama comparisons..what a shameful media.
Our politicians are short sighted- that is where the problem lies in.

hello kochuthresiamma p.j:
can you tell me more please.

kochuthresiamma p .j said...

The New India Express NOv 11, trivandrum edition. there is a space in the daily reserved for an extract from a blog on the top left corner of the face page of the paper. today's space quotes frpm ur blog- "If gandhi became a mahatma-----standung in our midst"

kochuthresiamma p .j said...

The New Indian Express i mean

Anrosh said...

Thanks Kochuthresiamma p.j. i wouldn't have known otherwise.

L. Venkata Subramaniam said...

Interesting analysis here.

I think Kalam for all his charisma was only a figurehead. I dont think he could influence govt policy and I hardly think that he did. What he did was to inspire youth, and that is no mean achievement as you say.

Also one thing that surprises me is Obama saying that the Indian democracy is in peril after the Mumbai attacks. I thought that showed little understanding of India. But now I see Manmohan Singh parroting that line. Is he also ignorant or do these guys know more than I do?

Anrosh said...

i think kalam utilized everything in his power ( though he was pressurized to do a few other things to by the then sitting government). he was one of the most effective presidents that we have had - he was not like the other sitting ducks

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