Indians Celebrate Obama's Victory

Indians continued to celebrate President-Elect Barack Obama’s victory on their blogs today. Their love for the future leader of the United States is clearly evident, with many writing posts thousands of words long about why they love him so much. Bloggers talked of how they admired Obama because of his warm nature, nice smile and oh-so-good looks. There were also those who even expressed jealousy how Americans could vote for such a man, whereas in India lies and corruption remain.

However, while the majority raved and believed how the former Senator from Illinois would not only do the US – but also India – good in the years to come, there were those who wondered whether their fellow citizens actually understood, let alone knew much about the future leader of world’s most powerful country to make such a huge fuss.

Anand Ramachandran’s Evil Twin said that as much as there were plenty of Obama ‘followers’ in India, there were just as many or even clueless supporters in his country.

“Thousands of random Indians, who have absolutely no knowledge of Barack Obama’s policies, views or track record, are enthusiastically celebrating his victory in the US presidential election.”

To give examples he even went to the streets and spoke with some die-hard supporters and wrote their responses in the blog, Son of Bosey.

“Yay! Obama wins! He's much better than McCain!” exclaimed a strangely delighted K S Priya, a student of some random college somewhere, doubtless drawing from her rich and deep research on the political histories of both candidates.

“Now, things will surely get better for India. Obama will see to that,” said a smug-looking Mathew Kurian (or something like that), forgetting that Mr Obama has been elected president of the United States, and not of India.

“Hooray, it's great to have him as President! He looks just like Lewis Hamilton!,” grinned an excited Sankalesh Jimmy, pointing out one of Mr Obama's lesser known strong points.

And to explain, Hamilton is a young sporting figure from the UK who has become famous as a Formula 1 driver, who in fairness does somewhat resemble Obama. You can check out his photograph here. But back to the subject. Apparently, Obama's huge popularity in India stems from his nice smile, pleasant looks, and his general dissimilarity to George W Bush, said the Evil Twin.

“Foreign Policy? Plan for the economy? Worldview? Who cares? He's not white, we're not white, so he's on our side!” said a surprisingly honest young woman.

“Things are expected to return to normal within a few days, when people eventually tire of pretending to be informed about international politics and return to watching boneheaded celebrities making fools of themselves on television.”

And then there’s this blogger who only goes by the initial ‘K’. He or she states in the very ‘in your face’ blog called Don’t Trust the Indian Media how what really matters for Indians is whether or not Obama will be good for India.

“Heck, Barack Obama might be a once in a generation orator, but for any Western country, or any country for that matter to elect a member of the minority (yes, yes, he is half-white) as their leader is a tremendous achievement. Yes, he might have been helped by the tanking economy, but this was a comprehensive victory in all respects. Is he good for India or bad for India? Well, I'm sure there will be way too much analysis on that topic for a while on the TV channels, but he has some things to fix in America first.

“I don't know how good or bad Barack Obama will be as a President of the United States, but I'm jealous of Americans today that they got a chance to vote for inclusion. We on the other hand in 2009 will have hardly any choice…”

Rashmi Bansal wrote on Youth Curry – Insight on Indian Youth her frustration over Indian politics. In her blog, aptly entitled Obama – India Needs One Too!, she expressed admiration towards Senator John McCain.

“I am happy that Obama has won, creating history. But it is also fascinating how McCain has graciously accepted defeat.

“We never see such speeches in India. Partly because we lack manners and what I would call a spirit of the ‘greatest common good’. But mainly because for the last few elections no one has really ‘won’. It's not over till it's over. Horses must be traded, MPs herded into camps. Anything to get the magic number ‘272’ (Note: the number of MPs in India). And then some.”

A post by Confused in Life is a Street Car Named Desire even went as far as calling Obama “our new messiah” and “saviour”.

“Now the land will heal and water will part…

“Obama won a thoroughly deserved victory because he ran a magnificent race and out-spent, out-thought and out-campaigned John McCain.

“He was clearly the better candidate and in a democracy, that is all it counts! He sure was lucky …

“He is pragmatic and he is ambitious. Pragmatism means that every one of his more unsavory associations–from Wright to Ayers–were used and then discarded. Ambition means that he will want a second term.

“He has a devoted base, which really seems to think he is the Savior, he has the organization, money and most importantly, the legitimacy of carrying more than 50% of popular vote.”

Confused notes that at least in Obama’s “honeymoon” period, which he says typically lasts for one year, it is hard to see any democrat opposing him. That is typically the time period presidents manage to advance their agenda most; second year would be elections and then it would be to each his own.

Perhaps the mood of many non-American bloggers out there was captured by 30 in 2005 in the post entitled “This day, like no other”:

”I'm not American. But today it's just a good day to be a world citizen.

“I'm hoping the world will be a better place for his presidency. More fairness, justice and inclusion. Better relations, less colour discrimination, more forgiveness, less war.

“I know that the world is a better place today than it was yesterday. I hope fervently that it's going to get even better.”

The New York Times declared that the racial barrier fallen. Shefaly on La Vie Quotidiennesaid that no matter what people say, race had been a significant factor in this victory – both for those who voted for and who voted against Obama.

“This post wants to ask what may make such success possible for those who are ‘others’.

“‘Otherness’ is nothing more than casual stereotyping by any other name. Stereotypes work because they are statistically significant ‘models’ – with positive or with negative slants – that explain the large bulge of the population in the middle of the bell curve. But at the ends lie the ‘outliers’, who break the stereotype, who achieve success.

“‘Otherness’ is celebrated when it is successful, when it is in the public eye. ‘Otherness’ is great – for them – when a political party approaches me to join them because I tick the right boxes: minority woman, with good spoken and written English, a Cambridge degree, middle class values, professional career and so on. (You may ask what my ‘otherness’ means to me. I see it just as a component part of my complex identity, nothing more or less significant.)

“The truth is not always that rosy.”

But let’s go back to Anand Ramachandran’s Evil Twin, who insists that Obama will be a great leader because he is neither black nor white.

“He is either/or and at the best of times, both. Black enough yet white enough. Especially in education and outlook.

“Obama was created in a different mould because he was destined to slay the Demon of Race.

“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.


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