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Obama and India

Categories: North America, South Asia, India, U.S.A., Elections, Governance

The election of Barack Obama [1] was a keenly watched event in India. Obama appears to have been the choice for President for many bloggers in India. Here is an quick snapshot of the initial reactions from bloggers in India about the historical significance of Obama's election. Interestingly, an underlying theme in a couple of blog posts is how and when will India's equivalent of Obama appear? Change is needed not just in America, but also in India appears to be the message from these bloggers.

Kakisi's World [2] captures the mood and how history was created with the election of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the USA. The blogger writes that what India needs is an Obama:

“Barack Obama as President of the United States is a small step for humankind, a giant leap for America. All nations of the world take interest in the American elections, for America is not just a country but an idea, a dream. Only country that surpasses that dream is India for the idea of India is far more ambitious than people anywhere else would possibly imagine.”

Randeep Ramesh of ‘Asian Musings’ writes about ‘Obama Nationlists’ [3] in India and says:

“Like the rest of the world, India woke up this morning agog at Obama's victory. His speech as President-elect was relayed live on every one of the three dozen local language news channels this morning displacing the usual blizzard of crime, stock market and cricket statistics.”

Randeep goes on to make a telling comment and compares the democracies between India and USA. He underscores the fact that the American version of democracy is very different from the Indian version. He adds [3]:

“There is a presumption that democracies are all built the same…In India this is not true. People have yet to break the boundaries of gender and social-standing in India and are unable largely to choose a life for themselves. The reality is that identity – be it caste, class, race or religion – is central to the character of India's public life. It matters where you come from and who your father was in way that Americans would find bizarre.

Democracy in India is too immature to produce a President Obama. Although the country has had a Muslim nuclear scientist as president, a Sikh economist as prime minister and a Roman Catholic woman as leader of the biggest party these are merely outcomes of patronage.”

Rashmi Bansal of Youth Curry [4] writes an interesting post about what Obama's victory means and wonders when India will get its Obama:

“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.”

Appopt [5] of Daily Kos [6] is in India and shares his thoughts about Obama fever in India and how he wished he was back in the USA just for the elections:

“I actually cried a little during Obama's speech. ….I got a little choked up during McCain's speech as well. Both made me realize that, while I enjoy traveling and seeing the world, I really do love the U.S. of A. And for a few minutes, I was tempted to email my old bosses to see if they'd take me back.”

Democrats Abroad consisting of American expats in Bangalore organized a breakfast meeting (because of the time difference between India and the USA) to watch the election results. Robin King of Bits From Bangalore [7] shares some pictures and writes:

“Here in India they are worried about protectionism with respect to outsourcing, but overall there is great hope of a more enlightened and less boorish role for US in the world.”