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India: Obama Mania

The US President Barack Obama is in India now as part of his ten day Asia tour and he has generated a lot of interest in this country of 1.2 billion people. The Indian media got hyped up covering every bit of Obama's action in India and the netizens are also vocal about it. Hanna Ingber Win, a Global Post correspondent from Mumbai, captures the enthusiasm of the Indians:

Welcome posters at American Center New Delhi. Image by US Embassy New Delhi. CC BY-ND

“Ala, ala, ala,” (He’s coming, he’s coming, he’s coming) a little boy shouts in Marathi, the local language spoken in Mumbai.

At another barricade, hundreds push and shove and jump up and down, trying to catch a glimpse of the president as he leaves Mani Bhavan, the museum where Mahatma Gandhi stayed when he visited Mumbai during India’s independence movement. Old men lean over their balcony railing; boys climb into trees; girls sit on top of shoulders — all holding their mobile phones out, ready to snap a photograph of Obama. When the president steps outside, the crowd goes wild, chanting, cheering and hooting away.

Greatbong at Random Thoughts Of A Demented Mind describes how the Obamas are being treated in India:

The moment we have an American President coming to visit us, the Pavlovian instincts take over and we are back into our rolling-on-the-ground mode. Coconuts are taken down so that one does not fall on the anointed one’s head. Special Indian massages are arranged for him and his wife. Platters are named in his honor. The high and mighty prostrate themselves in his path. Public money is spent like water and ordinary citizens inconvenienced for HIS convenience.

From New Delhi research analyst and blogger Varun Dixit questions “why is Barack Obama in India” and comments:

Obama is trying to bring back jobs in US, which he couldn't succeed so far and I am sure will not be able to succeed in future also. Wall Street knows setting their operations in India will help them in long term whereas Obama is just playing politics by promising to US people what he cannot do.

Indians were also very much interested to know Mr. Obama's stance on Pakistan and he somewhat startled many by his speech as Ghulam Muhammed from Mumbai explains:

He (Obama) said, it is in India’s best interest that its neighbor Pakistan should become a peaceful and stable country, so that India’s own progress towards a future of economic growth and prosperity can be assured of a steady and peaceful progression. Commentators on all English Channels exploded with open hostility while the speech was still on. Hawks like Times of India’s Washington correspondent termed it as giving in to Pakistan blackmail.

Khamba's hilarious take titled “Things Obama will never say in India ” came somewhat true with that speech.

A hoarding parodies Obama's Visit. Image via Twitpic user rushikeshgk

Here are some reactions from the Indian Twitter users:

aasthabiyani16: @ArjunKP Word! Sick of Obama Obama and more Obama, hey Raama come n save me from this drama, err that rhymes :p

hopfans: Phew!! Hoping Barack Obama's gone to sleep. The US President sure has taken India by storm… http://goo.gl/fb/hmKIO

jhunjhunwala: Why is the Indian Media having a collective orgasm over Obama? Kuch bolo bhai (please say something).

Greatbong criticizes the Obama mania and suggests:

We should treat Obama’s visit as just another visit by a head of state and not take it as a certificate of how much the US respects India. Because it does not. Definitely not under Obama.

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