Someone must research to find out if icons and idols develop clay feet sooner in this day and age or is it just the age old adage that all idols have feet of clay. Mr. Barack Obama the former President of USA visited India recently in connection with his Obama Foundation. He was also an invitee to the HT Leadership Summit 2017. I found him to be completely off color (no pun intended). This is a man whom one tuned into just to hear him speak, he was such an amazing communicator !!

I can still hear his farewell speech and how stirring it was … and then to see him pander to a third rate journalist like Karan Thapar who deserves a tight “thapad” for trying really hard to showcase India as a communally divided country courtesy Mr. Modi. Mr. Obama has always been circumspect but he was also always articulate but this was a very diffident man … when Karan Thapar asked him about whether he had privately warned (!!!!?*&$) Mr. Modi about not being communal, Mr. Obama had the perfect chance to be the statesman that he “was” and he missed the bus. What did he mean by saying “I did bring up the topic of treating all minorities with respect blah blah blah….”. All he had to say was “every leader that I met in India including Mr. Modi has never given me the impression that they were communal, they all had the best interests of India and all communities in India in mind as they went about their business.” That would have effectively shut Karan’s filthy mouth. Does Mr. Obama really think that he could fool the millions in India with that long winded, no substance answer?

The only statement that was worthy was “Indian Muslims must be cherished because they feel Indian first” – awesome. Its true, all Indians feel Indian first. Those who put their religion before the country are not welcome. And more importantly Mr. Obama should realise that he was sitting in the only country in the whole wide world that can truly be called secular because the majority religion is the only truly secular religion. Hindus don’t go around killing people because they find a different God more interesting or Hindus don’t insist that you accept their Gods as the only true God. Xenophobia is alien to India and Hinduism because we think of everything as God’s creation and hence sacred. So ideally he had no business giving advise to Mr. Modi who speaks of the world as one large family and has launched every scheme to benefit every Indian and not a certain section of the society. Also, lets for a moment assume that Mr. Modi is communal, then too, it was the perfect opportunity for Mr. Obama to take the moral high ground and merely say that India must remain the beacon of secularism and every leader just needs to continue its traditional secularism. He would have won hearts and a bigger fan following !

Then the townhall was again a let down … Mr. Obama came across as unprepared and rather bland. The answer to that black beauty Akkai Padmashali, founder of Ondede, an organization that works with transgenders was all over the place …. nothing concrete or actionable. Finding her voice is what Akkai Padmashali has done. There was scant acknowledgement of her struggle and the offer to hug her was sweet, and just that. Here is a man who had spent 8 long years being the most powerful man on Earth and am sure he has great ideas on dealing with the LGBT issues. Why not share some of his ideas?

Anyway, my admiration for Mr. Obama as a family man, as a sincere politician and as the nicest President to be in the White House in my lifetime hasn’t dimmed. I just felt let down and missed the  amazing speaker this time around. Maybe he is still finding his feet as an ex-President. Good luck Mr. Obama and am hoping to see you take a stand in world matters as we need sane and smart voices ever more.


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