An Open Letter

Dear Mr. Obama,

Thank you for visiting India. Thank you for considering us worthy of the honor of hosting you. Thank you for dancing to our humble music. Thank you for allowing us to buy USD 10 billion worth of your goods, unlike the poor Pakistanis who get them for free. Thank you for allowing us to create 50,000 American jobs—we cannot tell you how honored that makes us feel. (Take that Pakistan !). Thank you for promising to support us for a seat in the United Nations Security Council using the same ambiguously “some time some day when the time is right and under appropriate conditions” language mothers use when they don’t want to say no to a child asking for an expensive gift.

Thank you for using the word “frankly” (which in diplomacy is a very strong word) while chiding us for not criticizing the undemocratic regime in Burma. Now that you have scolded us, I hope that many of us will see the light. The thing is sir that many of us look upon US as such an inspiration that we tend to follow everything you do (low-rider jeans, pizza, saying “facepalm” and “whateva” and suchlike). Which is why so many are actually waiting for you to criticize, virulently and continuously, undemocratic regimes in say Saudi Arabia as some kind of template as to how we will frame our condemnation of Burma. You see sir, some of our diplomats think that foreign policy is not about principles but about pragmatics and since we have extensive business contacts with Saudi Arabia sorry Burma, it behooves us to look the other way when they do something not quite as honorable. Thank you for showing us once that foreign policy should be about the high moral ground.

Thank you for reminding us once again how a strong and vibrant Pakistan is essential for India’s progress.  I of course agree. Some don’t though. They say your comment is irrelevant because we, Indians, are not doing anything to stifle Pakistan’s progress (like for us sending men in boats to burn their hotels). We have no delight in seeing Pakistan fail. We do not care for them as long as they do not send people to kill us. And all that we ask of you is to not pay for the tools of their trade because somehow, by misfortune (because Pakistan is very sincere in fighting terror), most of your weapons and your money ends up getting used against us.

Again we look towards you sir to give us a template of how to have nurture a smaller neighbor. Many of us have grown up seeing Cuba, a country that really has never really done anything serious to harm you (because they are too puny and weak), still labor under an embargo since 1962 and thus never understood the need to maintain friendly relationships with unfriendly neighbors. Again some would say once again that foreign affairs is all about pragmatics and wheeling-dealing and no country is better than the other which is why no one needs to get sanctimonious and holier-than-thou but I don’t agree with them.

Finally thanks not so much to you but member of your staff Press Secretary Gibbs. When a brown slumdog suggested that five and not eight US pressmen be allowed in due to security management considerations, Gibbs announced “loudly and persistently” (or as they say rather boorishly and undiplomatically), in the true tradition of the classic member of the male baraat, that he would pull the US President from a meeting with Dr. Singh, no matter that it would be a humiliating gesture to the host PM.

As per the LA Times, (a liberal media outlet and Obama cheerleader) which applauded Gibbs for standing upto press access to the US President (why allowing 5 would have been any worse for freedom of the US press than 8 is of course never explained): [Link]

Today’s India incident was worthy of a political novel. Gibbs stepped into the disagreement and made it a confrontation. In no uncertain terms he informed the Indian official that the eight U.S. media reps were going into that meeting or Gibbs was going to pull President Obama out of the session.

Now, that would create an international embarrassment, detract from the host’s own political goals and hospitality and would rebound on that Indian functionary in a not-good way — as in, how would you like to work in a distant provincial sewage plant starting tomorrow?

At one point, Gibbs even inserted his foot to stop a closing door and repeated his pullout threat with increased volume.

Thank you dear LA Times.  Even more importantly, thank you for bringing out the disparity between the two sides——- when the US president comes to India promoting US industry, it is actually in the interests of the hosts (i.e. India’s) own political goals to be obsequious to the President’s underlings. And when the Indian PM goes to the US promoting India’s industry, it is again in the interests of the guests (India’s) political goals to be obsequious to US officials. Thank you for showing what a true superpower is and why we are not.

Now if we were a real superpower and say the Indian Press Secretary was seen shouting at a member of the US administration threatening to walk out with our PM if his dictats were not made, you would have just said “This is our country. Our rules. Accept it or you can take your PM with you.”


But we cannot. Because we are not.  You see, we do not have the audacity of a backbone, reduced to being giggly crush-striken schoolgirls whenever a foreigner pats us on our head, even when we are the customers rather than the salesmen.

Thanks, Mr Gibbs, for showing that the customer is not always right by literally poking your finger in our face.

And thanks Mr. Obama for all the fish.

Jai Hind.


130 thoughts on “An Open Letter

  1. surprise no one commented yet ?

  2. Unfortunately, people in India are still rejoicing the ‘raas’ with Michelle.

  3. GreatBong, respect for you has just tripled.

  4. I hope i can see a great flame war in the comments section soon… between people who will say whats your problem dude and people who will argue for you.. he he

  5. What are you talking about??!! Didn’t you read Rajdeep Sardesai who said this is “opportunity of lifetime” for us or we’ll “miss the buss again”, but they know EVERYTHING. What do YOU know? Or Barkha who repeatedly emphasized that Obama in “no unambiguous words” scolded Pakistan. (Yay us!!!) You ignorant NRI.

  6. Somewhere right now a guy/girl is waking up and will post “my thoughts exactly!” on this comment section before the day ends.

  7. Come on guys…in the US the house is on cant expect US to be this benevolent is business transaction.. India needs new fleet and plans to spend 100bn in next 10 years on military. We did get access to nuclear technology in the Bush visit and now get exemption for ISRO and some other defence related organizations to access the technology.

    You cannot expect US to change its stance about pakistan when it has so much at stake in Afghanistan. In the long term we do see a shift of US from Pakistan first to India first if that even matters..

    Rest is detail …

  8. Tips for flame war

    For it
    1) Wow GB.. my thoughts exactly.. when will we learn some self respect?
    2) The less said about our media the better…
    3) We Indians have this inferiority complex/hangover from years of colonial rule

    Against it
    1) Whoa.. ! You have NO RIGHT to say things like that you NRI.. why don’t you come back to India and do something worthwhile?
    2) Do a ‘clever attack’ – “GB .. you should just stick to movie review and discussing Rakhi Sawant. These larger things are beyond your comprehension”
    3) Oh you GB fanboys.. you need to get a life..

    The aag main ghee would bee someone who writes 30 lines about India’s glorious past 😉

    I am so excited heheh.. must do some more bong.

  9. @ Nishit..Sorry to know that you base your opinions based on Rajdeep and Barkha datt..clowns of 24 X 7 news channel.

  10. great post highlighting the hypocrisy of US..vis-a-vis the Burma comment……
    how i wish those times would come…when india will have economic leverage(at least as much as china has now)…and will call the shots..

    talking about talking to pakistan( a terrorist state)….is an insult…

  11. Thanks for this post. So relevant and so extremely necessary.

  12. 1. If, as according to the LA Times

    “In the advance negotiations for today’s bilateral meeting between Obama and India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, everyone agreed that eight Americans would be allowed in the press pool. But when it came time for the appointed eight to file into the brief staged setting, some Indian official decided five was enough.”

    there was previous agreement on the number of journalists, I see no reason why a desi official should suddenly change the numbers. Was any reason offered for the change?

    2. Most of the people on this blog have had some experience with desi officialdom and how randomly rules are changed, according to the whim of the official. If this was such an incident then good on Gibbs for taking this official to task. This contains a larger lesson on how to treat such officials. Some of us do this, most of us don’t.

    3. The next time stuff like this is pulled on Indian journalists in the US let the Indian Foreign Secretary/Ambassador/Press Officer do the same thing as Gibbs. If they don’t then they should be blamed for not doing so, not Gibbs for doing what he did (again with the proviso that the desi officials reneged against the initial agreement for no good reason).

    4. Gibbs was playing to the US media back home. If he had gone along with the new restriction, the media in the US would hang him from the nearest lamp-post. The Obama presidency just suffered its worst week ever. They didn’t need the media to turn even more against them.

    5. Not the first time for Gibbs. He did the same in Copenhagen during the Climate Change summit with the Chinese delegation.

  13. What a piece!

    There are so many morons who think that the American govt. really cares for us and that’s why they came visiting. It is so easy to please these people. You just need to make a flattery speech that injects a shot of pseudo-patriotism for your country, similar to how most people felt after watching say a Rang De Basanti.

    I hope they all read this and “get” it.

    Indian politicians have only proved again how spineless they are, so am not surprised at that. So much ass-licking and he’s not even white! I wish some mainstream media people who, instead of the insane verbal-masturbation each night, showed this kind of clarity and political incorrectness (if I may say so) in thoughts and words.

  14. Forgot to add one more thing.

    6. GB, sorry for raising your blood pressure even more but have you taken a look at and

    What did poor Pratibha Patil do that Akihito and Abdullah did not?

  15. One more final thing

    7. NDTV and PTI claim that the agreement was only for 5 US pool reporters.

    “The agreement was for allowing five photo-journalists each from both the sides to cover the event but the American side insisted that all the eight “pool” members be allowed inside.”

    In that case I agree with your sentiments whole-heartedly. The Indian Foreign Ministry should leak a copy of this agreement to the media (including the US media) and embarrass Gibbs and Obama. Of course my unsolicited advice to Indian officials to do the same as Gibbs in the US stands.

  16. The India-US relations have a tinge of bollywood romance in it. The two protagonists are perfectly suited for each other, but avoidable misunderstandings, fate’s cruel hand, and some regrettable choices from both sides kept the two lovers apart for far too long. Belated it may be, but India and US are finally putting away the past behind them and are getting close to that elusive happily ever after.

    GB, your writings are often insightful and entertaining but I think that you are being overly critical this time around which is causing you to miss the larger picture. Strong India-US relations are in the interests of not only these two great nations, but also in the interest of the rest of humanity. Yes, US is often guilty of hypocrisy (everybody knows that and it should be pointed out as you did) but so is India and every other nation in the world. Geo-politics is not a game for the saints. The important thing is that two great democratic nations in the world are rightfully coming together as strong partners which can only be good for the future of the world. I say three cheers to that!

  17. U.S being a hypocrite is an old story. But tell me one country that is not. It is evident that Obama will not get a second term and the unfortunate outcome of his presidency is the strengthening of the conservative forces.
    But for a President who did the health reform, signed the Lilly Ledbetter fair Pay act, created the children’s health insurance act ( and much much more you are being terribly unfair. Your problem is your bias makes you miss important global decisions like allowing federal funding on Stem Cell Research, the stimulus packages for scientific development and closed the Guantanamo Bay. You would not be chiding Clinton if he said the exact same things. But when one is a punching bag everyone has a go at it.

  18. Good blog!!!
    Wish our countrymen could adopt such mindset as a whole. We are not inferior to any goras. These goras(not just US) are so dependent on us. India is a talent mine. Hope we realize ourselves in this light soon and have greater self-respect.

  19. @Aditi Sen:

    Gitmo closed down? When?

  20. Aditi,

    My piece has not commented on Obama’s domestic policy.It is about him visavis India. India and US both work from positions of self-interest and there is nothing wrong in that. The problem is with somebody being as sanctimonious and condescending as Obama (really Cuba !) and with Obama’s officials behaving in the most boorish and arrogant manner possible.

    Incidentally, Obama closed some of the US’s major research programs through NASA Constellation and DoD FCS. George W increased NSF funding also. And even with the Senate and the House, his Health Insurance Act was nowhere what it should have been. For instance, insufficient price regulations on insurance providers who have now jacked up their rates unreasonably high to meet their future costs. Again this is not the subject of this post and can be discussed in another blogpost in a future time. And I wonder why you presume my reaction would have been different for Clinton.

    I may be wrong but as of now Gitmo is still open with around 170 detainees.

  21. I agree with you on Gibbs though his behavior was unacceptable.

  22. This post seems pretty bitter. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

  23. For you a movie dialogue by a Page3 baba to a disciple in a rave party :
    “You should walk barefoot…it will help ground your negative energy.”

  24. Well, ok about closing the Guantanamo I meant signing the order. My bad if I mentioned it as a done deal.

    @GB My point was that Obama is fair game very much like Bush these days and the outcome is that some of the reforms he tried to do has been seriously undermined. As you said the domestic policy is different story but actually Stem cell, minority access to capital has global impact. My feeling is that normally you aim this level of animosity to someone like Glenn Beck and your post almost makes Obama seem like Beck.

  25. I think you’re being a little more venomous than needed here, but I do see the idea that Obama is not even able to say clearly that much of India’s terrorism woes are with tacit approval from the Pakistani government. He will keep giving more money to Pakistan and they will use it to arm themselves against India. I am worried that a Cuban missile crisis style scenario might happen between India and Pakistan.

  26. GB:
    Do I need to prompt you to thank Obama’s teleprompter? 🙂


    Thank Thor, that Gitmo is up and running.
    Most of those “not so bad” Jihadis that were let off, went right back in search of the 72 virgins and 28 young boys.

    Gibbs is a glib bully even in the White House Press circle. He is known for his pushy attitude.

    But more importantly, Pakistan will remain relevent to Obama’s strategic zero sum game, as long as they provide US with supply lines and logistical bases as the US cannot operate in Afghansitan without them.

    India on the other hand, has resisted US any access to its bases, nor has expressed any desire to militarily participate in Afghansitan, against Jihadis.

    US is just looking at its own interest.

  27. Breaking news:

    Ashok Chavan and Kalmadi have been assigned as governers of 2 unlucky states as a token of appreciation for corruption

  28. i think too much is being made of his ‘bow’ to japanese emperor and not to indian prez. its a customary greeting in japan to bow to show respect. not quite so in india. here, it suffices to join hands and say namaste. which he did. i would not like to mention that there is tradition and historicity associated with the jap king. and it requires no telling how ppl become prez in india. i think this trip was a business trip . comparison with pak and militry aid part is again unfair. india , historically has never been a ‘US ally’. they dont have militry bases on our soil. nor do they kill ppl with drones in our land. pak is payign a price for the american largesse. while we are equal business partners , Pak, is largely a dependant ally. why should we even compare with them ! and i find it silly that we expect US to bring the mumbai perpetrators to justice. its none of america’s business.

  29. That US foreign policy is hypocritical isn’t really news, but you’ve done a much better job with this post than with the previous one by focusing on hard facts and using satire rather than kiddish humour – which was “frankly” nothing more than a distraction from the point you were trying to make.

    Here again, pointing fingers doesn’t really solve anything. The US has historically been a power-hungry nation and has committed several iniquities in its relentless pursuit of becoming a ‘superpower’. But if we(you) abhor its behavior so much, shouldn’t we treat its mistakes as a lesson as we prepare ourselves for our own position as one of the world’s leading voices? Isn’t that a more useful approach than using their mistakes as a stick to beat them with? Because we’ll soon realize that demanding a seat on the UNSC is one thing, but actually shaping and reforming global policy is quite another. If we’re serious about this, we must practice the art of high rhetoric, even if it may be meaningless at times. Either that, or we simply reject the UN’s authority and attempt to forge our own power centres, maybe with US irritants like China, Burma, Iran and North Korea. Doesn’t sound a very attractive option does it? Whatever we choose, we can’t have it both ways. China is unique in that it has managed to rebuff the US on important global issues through US-centric forums. But despite the geographical proximity, we’re not really like China in any significant way, and our approach to diplomacy must be vastly different, which it is.

    As for the “free aid” to Pakistan, would you seriously prefer free goods that cater to immediate demand over long-term investments that strengthen our industrial base? The US does aim to benefit from our potentially enormous market, but it’s also offering us access to innovations in energy, agriculture, nuclear technology and other critical areas, even if it is at a price. Creating jobs for Americans is indeed an achievement for India, because it means that the US has a greater stake in our success. The P-word will continue to strain strategic ties, but Obama’s comments on Pakistan are still significant. Maybe its just me, but he sounded clearly embarrassed about the inability of the US to solve the Af-Pak problem. The Taliban was created by his predecessors, as was the current predicament. But the context was completely different then, as India didn’t really feature in US foreign policy decisions at all. This has changed, and will change further in the future. It’s important to realize that even business interests align US with India’s security issues, and our intelligence agencies desperately need better means and inputs to counter the threat of our (mis)adventurous neighbour.

    Not much to say about the behaviour of ol’ man Gibbs. It was inappropriate and smacked of colonial impulses if not outright racism. But I believe this is unlikely to be a repeat occurence, as India’s rapidly improving global standing should allow us to openly condemn, and even respond in kind, to such outbursts.

  30. I so terribly miss George Bush…at least we could get a good laugh once in a while…am sure our Dr. MMS misses him too. We Indians should really have loved him…he didnt do us half as much harm as this man Obama. Is there really no way in which he can get a third term??

  31. Brilliant, as usual, but… Arnab, I’m sure you’re more popular than you know about, and there might be, well, a few non-trivial people reading this as well.

  32. For once I agree with GB! I’m sick and tired of our gora fixation (I know Obama’s black!)

    Some things I don’t agree with

    1) They say your comment is irrelevant because we, Indians, are not doing anything to stifle Pakistan’s progress: C’mon, please. I’m sure we have a lot to do with what’s going on in Baluchistan. Surely we’re up to something at least. Definitely not as much as Pakistan’s doing in India, but we’re as innocent as our media makes us out to be.

    2) Thank you for using the word “frankly” (which in diplomacy is a very strong word) while chiding us for not criticizing the undemocratic regime in Burma: The US is definitely a nation of double standards. But this definitely doesn’t make what he said untrue. IMO, we SHOULD do something about the undemocratic regime in Myanmar. Like the US we’re serving our own short term self interest here. You may say that’s fair because everyone else looks out only for themselves. But that doesn’t make it right.

  33. GB, it is wonderful to see how you have changed from being just a brilliant witty satirist to someone who is shaping public opinion through powerfully simple writing. Well done and keep going.

  34. Btw, why ARE we supporting a military Junta which has jailed an elected leader for years? Geopolitics? Realism over idealism? Iran?

    Just has we still reserve the right to criticize US for its hypocrisy vis-a-vis Cuba, or Saudi, they reserve the right to do the same. We all love pointing out each others’ faults.

    To call out Obama for these does not serve any purpose.

    As an aside, relations with Cuba have rarely been better for the US The only reason the embargo still on is because of history, Castro, and a powerful lobby in the US.

  35. 1. Please understand one thing-EVERY action we take is based on self interest. Even if you are doing charity, you are doing it to get a warm glow in YOUR heart. You are doing things for your parents,because you want to be a good son. You are doing things for your children, because you want to be seen as a good parent. And there is nothing wrong in it. People who work for ‘others’ are fictitious, (or called ARundhati Roy)
    2. Let’s not turn the Gibbs incident into a brown-white confrontation. This also shows OUR colonial mindset. It was a disagreement of two individuals-WHY does skin color have to be brought in? I consider it the ultimate Indian defense-if someone scolds you or disagrees with you-its because he’s a gujarti, marathi, punjabi etc etc…or here in the US-if he’s white, or Mexican or African American. Its a good technique for rousing emotions-but tell me-if Gibbs wanted to disagree with someone in India-should he have first gone looking for a white skinned Indian? or should he have not disagreed at all? Even at small gatherings (even personal ones) there are always skirmishes etc-on a visit of this scale-of course there would be. But we decide to turn it into a brown white incident-and if you notice-the only person (who I consider sane) in the whole issue, to refer to an Indian as ‘Slumdog’ is GB.

  36. @ darshan

    “C’mon, please. I’m sure we have a lot to do with what’s going on in Baluchistan. Surely we’re up to something at least.”

    India is not even giving moral support to the people of Balochistan. Geographically, we have are in no proximity with that part of Pakistan, and we have almost no direct line of contact with Balochis.

    I have a few friends in the US who are Balochi rights activist, as well as Sindhis or Pakhtoons, and all of them agree that India has no covert or overt role in helping any movement in Pakistan.

    But they wished India helped with put their voice out. Even that is not done.

  37. I agree with Uno on the first point, it was quite a low brow moment for asking us to bend over for US. But you see world dominance comes with some perks and perks a country like us could not do without.

    I also would like to point out that self respect doesn’t translate as arrogance, I mean as the security of a US president is top priority I thought his itinerary was well documented before he arrived.

    So it is for us to know whether we disagreed on the D day [disallowing 3 more journalists] or they high browed us by bringing in 3 more folks from fourth estate.

  38. Hi,

    Agreed Obama shrewdly achieved what he wanted to, but I feel you are being a little too pessimistic. Chill out man. That we bought his costly goodies was not his fault. It was his job to do that. We let him, if I may say so, run over us. At least we can use this opportunity to look at our shortcomings and not give anybody else a chance in the future to “man handle” us. Here’s my take on the issue –

    Hope to hear from you.

  39. Love both your blogs about Obama’s India visit. However, going by the reactions of my friends in India, majority of Indians seems to be either disinterested in or excited about Obama’s visit.

    @Pratish – We had over 63 years to prepare ourselves to make sure nobody runs over us. I agree with Arnab’s take on this issue – India is bending over backwards to greet this weapons salesman.

  40. thank, but no thanks for this blog. I would rather read the analysis of Obama’s visit from experts (B raman, Chellaney etc) who can really read into the statements and the agreements.

    I do no agree to most of your analysis as most are very shallow.

    Of course, thanks for your funny blog posts.

  41. @Meghal – Yes, we did have 63 years to prepare ourselves to make sure nobody ran over us. But India in many ways miserably failed. And that’s the message I’m trying to put out – that this generation [of which I’m a part] should do something about it and change it. There’s no denying that previous generations probably fell short of what was expected of them. But are we going to keep cribbing about that? This is the moment for us to seize. And we should not waste it. And that in essence was what an outsider [Obama] was telling us in the speech extract which I’ve put up. Of all the mania that ensued because of Obama’s visit, if we can take at least that much from it [and I don’t think it’s too much to ask for that little philosophy], maybe our future generations will not blame us as we so casually do about our previous generations.

    In all honesty, personally, I’ve never done anything worthwhile for the country till now. But I want to. I don’t want to spend my life writing blogs and comments on the sideline. I don’t want to feel guilty later that I did not seize the opportunity when I had it in my grasp..

  42. GB,
    Bravo….Bravo…Bravo. Seriously. 🙂

  43. GB – While most of what you have said is factually correct, I wouldnt blame Obama. To me, this is a failure of the Indian govt to stand up for the country.

    If Gibbs wanted to pull POTUS out of some meeting, somebody in the Indian govt should have had the balls to say, be my guest.

    With a spineless leader like ManMohan (seriously, where is tha MAN in manmohan), it is pointless blaming Obama. This is the strongest India has been in the last many years, economically/militarily/politically. To see that our politicians want to use that only to fill up their swiss accounts is disgusting.

    Obama’s policy vis-a-vis India is what it is, India has to work with.

  44. Dude .. your views are being espoused by CPI(M) .. how do you feel about that

  45. 1. Paragraph one: I don’t understand the reason for sarcasm here. US wants economic partnership with India – for its own good and. In Pakistan US has been pushed into a corner where they cannot do anything much given their interests in getting out of Afghanistan. Two different things – two entirely different issues. So what’s the GB’s point here? And what is wrong with the words used by Obama in support of India’s permanent seat at the UN SC?

    2. Ok. US does not have a locus standi when it comes to advising other nations. Agreed. But keep aside the fact that it is the US president talking – Doesn’t it make eminent sense. If India aspires to be a global power, we need to exert the influence in International Affairs – That was the statement made? I dont see how the fact that the US president said it makes it false? It is just common sense. Again the writing just smacks of limited critical thought and Anti-US noise making.

    3. Press issue. Did anybody make the sequence of events here clear? Indian bureaucracy and officialdom is extremely capable of making extremely stupid decisions which make no sense. So If a sudden change in plans was made and out of the 8 US journalists covering the event suddenly 3 are denied entry – How should the press secretary react? How does this become Gora arrogance and US Imperialism other than when viewed through extremely colored lenses? If Indian officials do not have the ability to do the same thats their fault, obsequiousness..whatever..How is the US press secretary guilty of doing what he was supposed to do real well – Something there for Indian officials to learn. Ofcourse..disclaimers here..i do not claim to know the exact details of what transpired..what is described here could be true – point is..if you have a clear argument – explain it – dont resort to using half information to prove that your version of the truth is correct. Show some humility and discretion when It comes to making opinionated statements when you dont have all the facts.

    Apart from the lack of real critical thinking..excellent article!

  46. very well written

  47. @GB

    Good grief. Did you see that video of the Indian kids dancing with Barack and Michele? I was surprised to see that little Indian kid stooping down and touching Barack’s feet twice.

    That got me thinking – “Was it a spontaneous gesture of respect towards an elder by an innocent child? Or was he instructed to do so by his teachers/parents/the-program-organisers/officials? If so, why do Indians learn to stoop before foreigners from an early age and develop an inferiority complex?”

    I think Tarun Vijay makes some good points (especially about the Bhopal disaster) in his Obama-related column today: “Don’t create an impression that Pakistan is an ally while India is a market”

  48. I thing that this is your first bad article, and the sarcasm is just being passive aggressive. What exactly are we angry about? That the U.S is not turning around and slapping Pakistan around? Why don’t we get angry with China then? The U.S is exactly like we are, generally progressive, and sometimes hypocritical, when trying to reconcile short term interests with long term principles. That doesn’t make them our enemies, because we do no differently with Burma, or Iran or Tibet.

    We didn’t turn all giggly because Obama is a foreigner; we do the same when Rahul Gandhi visits Orissa. We just like personalities. Who doesn’t? The irony is that your blog is indirectly devoted to the cult of personality in the form of cinema.

    Your taking Obama’s comment about a vibrant Pakistan (he was defending U.S aid, not implying that India was de-stabilising the region) out of context, or implying that mild aggression on the part of Gibbs (I have seen far worse examples of “janta hai mere baap kaun hai” in our cities) to be some sort of post colonial racism is ludicrous.

    You had the chance, given your large fan base to make a seriously insightful, and perhaps funny political comment. What you turned it into was a sham, neither funny, nor insightful. More’s the pity.

  49. Vijay wrote: We didn’t turn all giggly because Obama is a foreigner; we do the same when Rahul Gandhi visits Orissa.

    Wow! And then we wonder.

    Do you turn giggly when Narendra Modi visits Orissa?

  50. Vijay-completely agree. This post is half baked-with no real thought. Blame it on race, and bring down the ‘white’ man, forgetting that that too is another form of racism

  51. @GB

    I suddenly realized that you are just like OBAMA, great presentation skills, capable of make believing readers like us that you are absolutely spot on, but no where near to anything concrete. This post looks dumb, shallow and so very naive. International diplomacy, i think is much more complex for a pseudo intellectual NRI to analyse in a witty 100 line para.

    And bong, your post on rakhi is fantabulous, please stick to the genre.

  52. @Bengal Voice:
    “Was it a spontaneous gesture of respect towards an elder by an innocent child? Or was he instructed to do so by his teachers/parents/the-program-organisers/officials? If so, why do Indians learn to stoop before foreigners from an early age and develop an inferiority complex?”

    So now a kid touching the feet of a elder person, IF the person is a non-Indian is somehow representative of craven colonial hangover and a lack of a spine? All Indian kids are taught to touch elders’ feet. As far as I remember I was taught it was a mark of respect, not one of servility. Of course, sometimes it was just a ritual, and I didn’t really mean it (like when I was forced to touch the feet of an auntie I secretly lusted after, but I digress…), but in most cases I did that, and still do as a sign of respect.

    Obama is an important, and to many people, a respected man. What is wrong if kids touch his feet as a mark of respect? Not everything one does is a sign of an “inferiority complex”- sometimes it is just politeness. Even if the kid’s parents coached him to do it, I’d still argue that they did the right thing; they were teaching him to show respect the Indian way.

    Why read subtexts into actions which might just be completely innocent. Not every one shares your (and unfortunately, in this case, Arnab’s) contempt of Obama.

  53. Shan,

    Contempt of Obama? May I then call you a Obama fan-boy since you have started putting labels? I have made clear what I find objectionable about his holier-than-thou-ness.

  54. Arnab: You criticism of Obama is nothing that could not be equally applied to 5 other Presidents before him. The fact that you have chosen Obama to bash for policies and behavior that he did not initiate, or incite, was telling, at least to me.

    Fan-boy? Sure go ahead. I could do worse than being called a fan of a black/mixed-racial son of a poor single mother who has gone on to become the President of the USA.

  55. Shan,
    >> I could do worse than being called a fan of a black/mixed-racial son of a poor single mother who has gone on to become the President of the USA.
    So you will become the fan-boy of anyone who is
    1) black/mixed blood (he is african-javanese mixed)
    2) had a poor single mother (how do you know the poor and single part? – )
    and 3) who has made it big?
    GB did talk about Bill Clinton and his attitude towards India, Obama was not singled out.

  56. Hara hara bom bom November 10, 2010 — 12:11 am

    Hi all. Back after a while. Hope everyone is well.

    IMO Obama’s visit is valuable, for both USA & India. We can’t demand equal respect overnight, and neither can we expect USA to overturn its 63 year old Indo-Pak policy in a jiff.

    There are better ways of expressing dissatisfaction than dispalys of aggresive petulance when the world’s greatest power comes a visiting.

    We are already far behind in the “respect me as much as I respect you” game in the comity of nations.

    We were colonised for 1,300 years. With Muslim attackers, it was a slow and relentless process, but a handful of Europeans managed to dominate people that outnumbered them 1000 : 1.

    Post-independance, we have adopted a softly softly appraoch. Encouraging others to ridicule and ignore our achievements (defeating numerically larger Pakistani forces, saving Bangladesh from the murderors of millions), while opening our doors to our slums & sewers for others to photograph at will.

    And we are internally weak, with perhaps 1/3rd of the population idealogically pre-disposed to hate India (like the Marxists, Maoists and Mahdists). The genes are there, the non-stop indoctrination is there. All that the other side has is the calming effect of the majority culture. as even the dynamism of a fine army is negated by a corrupt political framework. It is only the fuse that needs to be lit bright.

    As such, it is ABSURD in our weakened state and chequered history to expect others to immediately take us seriously once we have achieved our billionth “call centre complaint resolution” mark.

    I accept that our neighbour’s duplicity stands shamelessly exposed. Their simultaneous courting of USA, Islamic terrorists, China, Sunni Taliban, Shia Hekmatiyar, anti-Indian Marxists et all, basically anyone who either chucks money at them, or terrorises India, or both, is no longer concealable.

    I also accept that India’s noble approach of non-violence, self-support, hard work and respect to all is now sinking in the world over. Inspite of the 25/8 distortions concocted by a farcical circus called the media.

    I thus understand the frustration of Indians when they see idiots rebuffing them when they are enriching USA by $10Bn, only to see those same retards quiver knees in awe at a terrorist nation that has skimmed $10Bn off them.

    However, remember that the USA / NATO has invested trillions of $s and hours over 60 years to create this imperfect world order infrastructure. They cannot ditch it overnight. That would cause chaos. Anarchy. A slow yet steady approach to overturn this leviathan is the only option.

    So, the question to ask is not if Obama is bending adequately low to Pratibha, but are there any signs that the USA has started to disturb the firmly entrenched behemothical world order it created. Well, are they?

    Whatever pundits may argue, the USA is still the world’s strongest power, it’s ‘culture’ is still the world’s most respected, & it’s head of state still the strongest man in the world.

    The President does not represent the Obamas here. He represents the USA, the most powerful nation on earth. Whatever Republicans and his home detractors may spout against Obama, I can guarantee you that the USA would unify in rage at any sign of discourtesy by India.

    India has not bent over beckwards to fete Obama. I do not see any strong signs of Obamamania sweeping India. And this inspite of media efforts to portray India as a nation of eager expectants with nothing better to do but spend sleepless nights in anticipation of Obama & swoon & faint when that hallowed hour arrives! There has been no greater display of euphoria in India in this visit than accorded Bill Clinton …. of course the security was infinitely larger, and for good reason.

    Anything less would be discourteous. Is that what we should do? We roll out the crimson carpet for a warmongering criminal like Musharraf when he visits, allowing him to call his own press-conferences IN INDIA, and we do not even squeak Kargil or his army’s massacre of Hindus in Baluchistan. This for a foaming mouthed enemy. And we are supposed to rediscover our spine and wiggle our fingers at Obazma, a nation and people that is slowly but surely realising the value of friendship with India? Really?

    I don’t deny this was a good occasion to show the world that India too has dignity, and should be accorded due respect. But show it in what form? Rebuffing Obama? Suddenly and strangely ignoring the import of this visit? Turning our backs to him?

    It would be far better if we had made an effort to outline a strategy. Like grilling Obama on ‘specific and close ended questions’ rather than open ones. Not asking “what do you think of jihad”, but “why are you supporting Pakistan, a nation that has murdered 3 million people?” This would have commanded nicer headlines. But we didn’t. And that is us. Alright, so what?

    We should not flag in our efforts to steady our media rogues. We should take all efforts to correct distorted international reporting. We should also be mature and gracious enough to acknowledge our errors. This is the way forward. Not dreaming up ways to embarass powerful potential friends.

    Well done Obama. My respect for you & the first lady has gone up massively.

  57. @Siddhartha:
    Yes I need I do tend to become fans of people who have raised themselves from unfortunate circumstances and went on to make it big, provided they did not become criminals to do so.

    What can I say? I am sucker for these kind of real life stories. I find it better and more satisfying than being cynical about them – till they prove me otherwise. Funny how that works, eh?

  58. @Siddhartha, with due respect, I dont think Obama is African-Javanese. But then again , there maybe some anthropological divisions( it is not a criticism or sarcasm, I honestly am not clear about the way these people classify races, so maybe you are right, Its just I have never encountered this term before)
    @Shan, Everyone loves the underdog, but again its not true that Obama’s family was poor. I mean you cant just import creative liberty in real life to make things sound more dramatic, just to make yourself feel better.

  59. @Greatbong, I dont know why you are attracting so much criticism on the last two posts. While I disagree on a few issues (the Gibbs incident to some extent) , you are right for most of the time ,in this post.

  60. @Dib:
    I am tiring of this argument. However when I say poor, I don’t mean his mother had whooping cough and his sister had to sell her body for a living. But I am sure you know that in American politics how difficult it is for a middle class person to get to the top. Look at the Presidents and presidential hopefuls in the last few years – they are all filthy rich, and connected to extremely influential families. Bush is a prime example.

    Compared to that, Obama has a multitude of problems to deal with, not the least of which was his skin color. Do you seriously think he had the same advantages the WASP establishment politicians like Bush, Kerry, or Cheney had?

    You don’t like Obama – fine with me. You share that opinion with at least half of the US. But let’s not split hairs about his past. He did not have it easy. He is not filthy rich. He made it though. I admire that. You don’t.

    Let it rest at that. No need to get all Fox News on me.

  61. Shan,

    “Yes I need I do tend to become fans of people who have raised themselves from unfortunate circumstances and went on to make it big, provided they did not become criminals to do so. ”

    Something tells me you wont admire Sarah Palin’s rise to become the face of the Republican Party and possibly their candidate for 2012 even though she too had very middle-class origins. So please spare us the whole “Oh he rose to the top from humble origins” as a justification for your love. Because then you would be routing for Palin.

  62. No one with half a brain would be rooting (routing?) for Palin. There’s a difference between rooting for someone who defies the odds and rises through the ranks based on their intellegence to get where they are today, and a small town mayor type who suddenly became famous because she represents the Bible Belt and appeals to people’s ignorance.

  63. @Khajur: “Wow! And then we wonder.

    Do you turn giggly when Narendra Modi visits Orissa?

    I am not sure what you are implying, so my answer might be wayward. There are probably a lot of people who are drawn to Modi. If personalities weren’t improtant, Dabaang wouldn’t be a success, Jackson wouldn’t have the following he did, and Tupac wouldn’t be selling records from his grave. At the end of the day, irrespective of whether he can fix the Pak issue, get us a security council seat, create jobs in the U.S or wallk on water, Obama remains a highly erudite man, whose understanding of nuance (a word bandied about so often in his case, it is probably true) in dialogue is perhaps unparalleled in a politician. If we go overboard in then welcoming him, why not just keep it in that context.

    P.S: As for the “we wonder”: are you royalty or just schizophrenic, or worse, both :)?

  64. give obmaba break .. he lost election he needs to show candy to cover his loss

  65. @Arnab:
    You are debating the words rather than the spirit of my argument. Just because I admire someone from humble origins who made it big does not mean I admire the undeserving ones as well. Or should I mention every caveat (“except for criminal, unintelligent, undeserving, insane, lottery winners…” et al) possible when I make a statement?

  66. @Shan,

    The other words you use are subjective. There are people who use exactly the same words to describe Obama—undeserving, insane in his socialist agenda. You love Obama because you think he is “intelligent, deserving, sane..”., Well I would call that being a fan-boy.

    This discussion is course useless. I said it because you started the whole thing by saying that “I have a contempt for Obama” .Again let me repeat, I do not have contempt for Obama, the person. I merely disagree with many of his policies. Likewise I do not have, unlike you, a contempt for Palin and agree with some of her policies (disagree with many others). Unlike you I do not “support” or “oppose” people, merely approve or disapprove of some policies.

    As noted, you conveniently forgot that I had said that Clinton was pretty anti-India also. Of course Obama has taken the most rabid anti-Indian official Clinton had and put her in charge of aid disbursement to Pakistan. But I am sure the intelligent and deserving Obama, by definition, should be lauded for it.

  67. Very, very apt post – my respect for you and your blog increased several times by reading this one. I read it twice before I am commenting. Your particular statement You see, we do not have the audacity of a backbone … … whenever a foreigner pats us on our head, even when we are the customers rather than the salesmen. is particularly dear to me because you said something most of us are too proud and too arrogant to be self-critical and admit that, socially speaking, we lack self respect (backbone). May God bless you, my friend !

  68. @Shan,

    well the Fox in me would argue that even if Sarah Palin were ignorant , how about Obama’s own gaffes which are ” seldom highlighted by lame-stream media” — the beer summit, calling for Latinos to destroying His enemies… and some quotes from Political humor:
    1. “The reforms we seek would bring greater competition, choice, savings and inefficiencies to our health care system.”
    2. ”In case you missed it, this week, there was a tragedy in Kansas. Ten thousand people died — an entire town destroyed.”

    —Barack Obama, on a Kansas tornado that killed 12 people

    Anyway, the thing is you may like Obama for being an erudite (which no one denies, he used to be a proff after all) , and I wont. But he is a politician we should still be able to accept citicism when it matters despite being a fan-boy or not. Otherwise , you lose the right to blame the Mulayams, Mayawatis, since all of them had a humble background and they did have to struggle a lot. They WERE not criminal, undeserving, unintelligent before ascending to power.
    I agree with you that exaggerating the incident of a kid touching Obama’s feet is silly, I do not think Obama should have lectured India on Burma , when his country is doing the same with Saudi Arabia . Thats pure smugness.

  69. Arnab, you’re being unbelievably defensive about this. I mean you’ve written two posts within a week which are a scathing, sometimes personal, and at least marginally unfair attack on the guy. So why do you get offended if someone refers to your contempt for him? Are you getting finicky about the word, because you really couldn’t do more to betray your feelings for him. Would you prefer ‘dislike’? Well you got it! The point still remains that in the course of two posts you have gone on and on explaining why India’s euphoria, or even mild optimism, about the Obama visit is one big joke. Business deals? Security assurances? Strategic support? Your response to all these could be easily summed up as “bah, humbug!”. Why so grumpy, grampa? The only other group of people who have been such vociferous opponents of the visit are the Pakistani government and India’s communist parties. Again, before you get defensive about “putting labels” again, I’m just stating facts and not claiming any correlation. Their arguments are different (and less cogent) than yours, but just like you, they simply refuse to take any positive message out of the visit.

    In fact the mother-child analogy you used to illustrate the meaninglessness of Obama’s support for India is rather telling of how you view this relationship. Just like the inconsolable child, you betray the “I want it, I want it NOW!” attitude. What are we demanding exactly? That we be made permanent members overnight? Or that the US start pushing for reform immediately just because India is a friend? They have been supporting Japan for years if not decades, but the very nature of UNSC reform is that it can be stalled by any of the permanent members. We now have the support of 4 out of 5, and none of them has been any more supportive than the US. I’m not claiming that history is being made here, but is it too much for you to admit that things appear to be changing for the better?

    Of course, this could all be pointless if your purpose was to simply write a “masaledaar” account of the visit, and the apparent seriousness of your tone was just another trick to make your stand look more genuine. Maybe it was all about plenty of comments, more than a few flame wars, and pretending to be threatened and/or hurt by anonymous commentators. If that’s the case, job well done! I’m not even being sarcastic, your posts will make much more sense to me if I knew they were not as sincere as they appear to be.

  70. The Cuba example makes sense. Every successive US President has always been wary of its neighbour. Had the US been where India is, it would have went ahead with airstrikes in Myanmar.

  71. always wanted to do that…for some reason…

  72. Second.
    Yippe Yay Yay!

    Watching Maverick made me want to do this!

    So I found the words/references to self respect, colonial hangover, inferiority complex, NRI,Rakhi Sawant, fanboys hahaha… I am getting better at understanding GB and the commentators.

    the bong does help..
    and Greatbong’s webspace is awesome.. like it or hate it.. you can’t ignore it.

    I hope someone just makes one really convoluted connection and brings Arundhati Roy statements just for the heck of it. That will be like.. ohmigod.. so totally kewl… so aweeeeesomeeeeeee ..

    Example: If you are really pissed with someone’s POV you could totally dismiss the commentator saying “You are sounding like Arundhati Roy!”

  73. Oh wait.. The Arundhati Roy comment was already made bwahahahahahah !
    I am loving this..

  74. @Hara hara bom bom & Avichal, well said. GB, how do you contribute to the betterment of India? You don’t even live there.

  75. Hara hara bom bom November 10, 2010 — 8:21 am

    @ Baba bullet – “If you are really pissed with someone’s POV you could totally dismiss the commentator saying “You are sounding like Arundhati Roy!”

    Haha. Nice one. Like it, like it, whether it was already made (bwahaha) or not. In future, if anyone makes a blatantly false and twisted comment, cloaked in utterly ridiculous lies and half-truths to give it a semblence of plausibility, I shall call it an “Arundhati Roy comment”.

    I taught my brother in UK to say “back after a BBC” whenever he needs to … ahem … go to the powder room. He nearly blurted it out in a meeting !!

    Like Ambrose Bierce, we should create a Devils Dictionary of Arundhati-Roy like names & popularise them. Best way to name and shame them.

  76. Hara hara bom bom November 10, 2010 — 10:31 am

    I include excerpts from the Presidents full speech to Parliament. Please read them, and convince yourself if they are idle platitudes, or an expression of deeper respect.

    I have freely deleted whole paras and sentences in paras. Thus juxtaposed sentences here were not next to each other in the original. Further, I have kept his ‘admonitions’ to India on Iran & Burma out, as they have been repeateed ad nauseum by Indian and Wetern media-monkeys. What the media-monkeys, especially those in UK, have so carefully & assiduously left out, are the waves of genuine praise he has showered on India. That is what I am trying to summarise below.

    PRESIDENT OBAMA ‘I have experienced the beauty and dynamism of India and its people. From the majesty of Humayun’s tomb to the advanced technologies that are empowering. From a Diwali celebration with schoolchildren to the innovators who are fueling India’s economic rise. At every stop, we have been welcomed with the hospitality for which Indians have always been known. So to you and the people of India, Bahoot dhanyavad.

    It is no coincidence that India is my first stop on a visit to Asia, or that this has been my longest visit to another country since becoming president.

    India is not simply emerging; India has already emerged. And it is my firm belief that the relationship between the United States and India — bound by our shared interests and values — will be one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century.

    This is the partnership I have come here to build. My confidence in our shared future is grounded in my respect for India’s treasured past — a civilisation that has been shaping the world for thousands of years. Indians unlocked the intricacies of the human body and the vastness of our universe. And it is no exaggeration to say that our information age is rooted in Indian innovations — including the number zero.

    India not only opened our minds, she expanded our moral imagination. With religious texts that still summon the faithful to lives of dignity and discipline. With poets who imagined a future “where the mind is without fear and the head is held high”.

    I have always found inspiration in the life of Gandhiji and in his simple and profound lesson to be the change we seek in the world. Dr King called Gandhi’s philosophy of non-violent resistance “the only logical and moral approach” in the struggle for justice and progress.

    So we were honoured to visit the residence where Gandhi and King both stayed — Mani Bhavan. We were humbled to pay our respects at Raj Ghat. And I am mindful that I might not be standing before you today, as president of the United States, had it not been for Gandhi and the message he shared with America and the world.

    An ancient civilisation of science and innovation. A fundamental faith in human progress. This is the sturdy foundation upon which you have built ever since that stroke of midnight when the Tricolour was raised over a free and independent India.

    And despite the sceptics who said that this country was simply too poor, too vast, too diverse to succeed, you surmounted overwhelming odds and became a model to the world.

    Instead of slipping into starvation, you launched a Green Revolution that fed millions. Instead of becoming dependent on commodities and exports, you invested in science and technology and in your greatest resource — the Indian people.

    And the world sees the results, from the supercomputers you build to the Indian flag that you put on the moon.Instead of resisting the global economy, you became one of its engines.

    Instead of succumbing to division, you have shown that the strength of India — the very idea of India — is its embrace of all colours, castes and creeds. It’s the richness of faiths celebrated by a visitor to my hometown of Chicago more than a century ago — the renowned Swami Vivekananda. He said that “holiness, purity and charity are not the exclusive possessions of any church in the world”, and that “every system has produced men and women of the most exalted character”.

    And instead of being lured by the false notion that progress must come at the expense of freedom, you built the institutions upon which true democracy depends — free and fair elections …. the lesson is clear: India has succeeded, not in spite of democracy; India has succeeded because of democracy.

    Just as India has changed, so, too, has the relationship between our two nations. Here in India, two successive governments, in the United States, both of my predecessors — one Democrat, one Republican — worked to a landmark civil nuclear agreement.

    Since then, people in both our countries have asked: what next? How can we build on this progress and realise the full potential of our partnership? That is what I want to address today.

    The United States seeks security. We seek prosperity. And we seek a just and sustainable international order that promotes peace and security by meeting global challenges through stronger global cooperation. A central pillar of this engagement is forging deeper cooperation with 21st century centres of influence — and that includes India. This is why I believe that India and America are indispensable partners in meeting the challenges of our time. And let me say it as clearly as I can: the United States not only welcomes India as a rising global power, we fervently support it, and we have worked to help make it a reality.

    We salute India’s long history as a leading contributor to United Nations peacekeeping missions. And we welcome India as it prepares to take its seat on the United Nations Security Council. In short, with India assuming its rightful place in the world, we have an historic opportunity to make the relationship between our two countries a defining partnership of the century ahead.

    And I believe we can do so by working together in three important areas.
    First, as global partners we can promote prosperity in both our countries. Together, we can create the hi-tech, high-wage jobs of the future. With my visit, we are now ready to begin implementing our civil nuclear agreement. This will help meet India’s growing energy needs and create thousands of jobs in both our countries.

    We need to forge partnerships in hi-tech sectors like defence and civil space. We can pursue joint research and development to create green jobs; give Indians more access to cleaner, affordable energy; meet the commitments we made at Copenhagen; and show the possibilities of low-carbon growth.

    Together, we can strengthen agriculture. Cooperation between Indian and American researchers and scientists sparked the Green Revolution. Now, as farmers and rural areas face the effects of climate change and drought, we’ll work together to spark a second, more sustainable Evergreen Revolution.

    As we work to advance our shared prosperity, we can partner to address a second priority — our shared security. In Mumbai, I met with the courageous families and survivors of that barbaric attack. And here in this Parliament, which was itself targeted because of the democracy it represents, we honour the memory of all those who have been taken from us, including American citizens on 26/11 and Indian citizens on 9/11.

    This is the bond we share. It’s why we insist that nothing ever justifies the slaughter of innocent men, women and children. It’s why we are working together, more closely than ever, to prevent terrorist attacks and to deepen our cooperation even further. And it’s why, as strong and resilient societies, we refuse to live in fear.

    America’s fight against al-Qaeda and its terrorist affiliates is why we persevere in Afghanistan, where major development assistance from India has improved the lives of the Afghan people. We are making progress in our mission to break the Taliban’s momentum and to train Afghan forces.

    Our strategy to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al-Qaeda and its affiliates has to succeed on both sides of the border. That is why we have worked with the Pakistani government to address the threat of terrorist networks in the border region. The Pakistani government increasingly recognises that these networks are not just a threat outside of Pakistan.

    And we will continue to insist to Pakistan’s leaders that terrorist safe havens within their borders are unacceptable, and that the terrorists behind the Mumbai attacks be brought to justice.

    And as two global leaders, the United States and India can partner for global security .That is why I can say today — in the years ahead, I look forward to a reformed UN Security Council that includes India as a permanent member.

    In your lives, you have overcome odds that might have overwhelmed a lesser country. In just decades, you have achieved progress and development that took other nations centuries. And now you are assuming your rightful place as a leader among nations. Your parents and grandparents imagined this. Your children and grandchildren will look back on this. But only you — this generation of Indians — can seize the possibility of this moment.

    I want every Indian citizen to know: the United States of America will not simply be cheering you on from the sidelines. We will be right there with you, shoulder to shoulder. Because we believe in the promise of India. And we believe that the future is what we make it.

    When we recognise our common humanity, then we can begin to fulfil the aspirations we share. It’s a simple lesson contained in that collection of stories which has guided Indians for centuries — the Panchatantra. And it’s the spirit of the inscription seen by all who enter this great hall: ‘That one is mine and the other a stranger is the concept of little minds. But to the large-hearted, the world itself is their family.’

    This is the story of India; it’s the story of America — that despite their differences, people can see themselves in one another, and work together and succeed together as one proud nation.

    Thank you, Jai Hind! And long live the partnership between India and the United States.’

    And Jai Hind to you too, respected President.

  77. moral of the story – if you don’t have a spine, the world will walk all over you..

  78. A’ BIG MAN ‘ Visited the house of a ‘Thoughtful Man.’
    He rushed down from the third floor’ where the guest was being entertained,to the ground floor where all the family and relations were waiting.
    A member of the family enquired, ” What makes you so happy and jubilant?”
    The host replied ” you don’t know, The Big Man was so nice and told me ” Go get Drowned ”

  79. @Arnab:

    I did agree my words are subjective, and I have already admitted to be a fan of Obama the person. I have not said that I agreed with all his policies though, just that many of the things you are excoriating him for are not his doing, e.g. Cuba. I have also asked what right we have to question him back when we are supporting a dictatorship like Burma.

    Unlike you, I am not even claiming objectivity here – I am not a news reporter. I freely admit I do have complete and total contempt for Sarah Palin – you feel the need to show objectivity by mentioning you like some of her policies. I do not even feel the requirement to draw that false equivalence between Obama and Palin. But the fact that you draw that equivalence makes me, and I guess, some other readers/commenters feel that you have deep problems with Obama.

    The point is – “I just oppose the policies, not the man” just didn’t come through in the post, at least for me. You say I am mistaken in that assumption – fine, but as Barthes would say, once the text is published, the author is dead.

    Frankly I thought you’d protest the facetious Fox News comparison, but you seem to revel in it. Good for you. There’s probably a Tea Party invite waiting for you at home.

  80. GreatBong,

    Really nice post! I was wondering if you could also come up with something on NDTV and Media who have made a mockery of journalism and act as though they are hosting filmfare awards!

  81. @Dib,
    Sorry, I wanted to write African-Javanese-Caucasian and then the last part was eliminated somehow.

  82. Wow…what an article!!!…Wish I had the talent to write tripe such as this.

  83. @Shan,

    Dude, you still dont get it (ohh did I again borrow Fox?). All your comments are subjective (eg- “facetious Fox”). You are just in no position to criticize me for loving Fox when your opinion about Obama’s policies are influnced by the fact of you being a fan-boy. Ohh, btw, whats so funny about the tea party anyway?

    @Siddhartha, I thought Obama’s step-father was Indonesian. Dunno, where did the “javanese” came from, thats all.

  84. @Shan,

    sorry I meant to say, “meaningful criticism” instead of “criticize”. You can ofcourse blabber whatever you want without substance, thats upto greatbong.

  85. @ Dib
    Javanese are Indonesian too.

    Indonesia primarily = Java+Bali+Sumatra

    While Java and Sumatra were rapidly converted to Islam during the past couple of hundred years, Bali remains Hindu, steadfastly.

    welcome back

    @ Siddhartha
    welcome back.

    @ Uttam Kattari
    Very true. Balochis do not even get moral support from India (most of their support comes from Iran).

    Unlike, Haj the GOI does not even pay Hindus to make pilgrimage to Hinglaj (one of the major Shaktipeeths, of Pauranic Hindu Dharma).

    Hindus in India should demand paid trip to Hinglaj (Balochistan ) for pilgrimage and service and resting facility from Pakistan along the way (just like India gives in Ajmer Dargah).

    It will help increase people to people contact and better relations.

  86. @Dib

    Not Indonesian…..Kenyan. Obama spent most of his childhood in Indonesia because his step father (Mother’s second husband) was a Javanese. That off-course does not mean that he has any blood relationship with the Javanese man. When I said African-javanese-caucasian, I meant the cultural inheritance, otherwise physically (gene-wise, blood-wise) there is no difference between Asian/African/Caucasian.

  87. Well, on the plus side, the visit showed that we have got across our ‘gora’ fixation.

    Good piece Arnab

  88. well said. thanks for writing.

  89. Whinge more. This post has an unmistakable expression of disappointment, borne of an absurd sense of entitlement. What did you expect him to do, give the symbolic lions a belly-rub? To think that state visits are about anything other than business or political maneuvering is an indication of naiveté. You know full well that Pakistan’s military funding is a bribe, exchanged for (half-assed) cooperation against insurgents. If the Indian government doesn’t have the balls to publicly raise the issue of Pakistan’s misused military contributions, then blaming a proxy doesn’t absolve them of their characteristic spinelessness. They can either force the US to acknowledge the collateral damage (and possibly pave the way for US cooperation against ISI terror), or kindly have a nice warm cup of STFU.

  90. How about giving the dark horse a welcome and nosebag, but politely refusing to buy (largely unnecessary) armaments?

  91. @Dib:
    First, I said my “Fox news comparison” was facetious, not “facetious Fox” – Fox news is way beyond facetious – they are in the realm of a parody of a news channel in a parallel, illogical universe.

    “Ohh, btw, whats so funny about the tea party anyway?”
    Did you ask this question seriously? Really? Or are you being facetious now? I do hope it is the latter. Just so that it is easier to take you even a little seriously. 🙂

    Finally, when have I mentioned that I support all Obama’s policies, just because I am a fan of him as a person? I distinctly remember mentioning otherwise. Simple analogy for you to understand – I am an Aamir Khan “fanboy”, but still hate Mela, and was unimpressed by Ghajini. Got it?

  92. @tw:
    “Unnecessary armaments”? You do know we need new planes right? That a large part of our fleet is outdated. You agree we need to buy them from somewhere, since we can’t make ’em ourselves, right?

    Oh, and “dark horse” can be construed to be borderline racist.

  93. Great post!!!…Very well put,on balance, Obama did very well for his country, we did pretty much as we always do, unable to drive a hard bargain and happy with mere statements!!!…

  94. There are people who wear gora fixation on a sleeve seems like, almost proudly “look I am Dhimmi”

    Great post GB.

  95. Are you saying that we have a weak foreign policy? Are you saying we should treat President Obama as yet another foreign diplomat visiting the nation? Are you also saying that there is submissiveness in our attitude towards the US? I guess I do agree with you. The reason is US is a much stronger nation, and we are probably scared. And as usual videshi baniyaan.. sundar baniyaan.(if you get what I mean)

  96. Shane warne has given “certificate of gentlemanship” to Tiger Woods. Most appropriate.

  97. Some here are expressing regret that India failed to extract adequate benefits from USA. However, remember that:

    1. We are not aware of the full extent of what went on behind close doors. India may have demanded, but the USA refused.

    2. India is a Tier 2 country, if not still a Tier 3 one. It has a long history of capitulation in negotiations. So it is unlikely that the USA will seriously entertain any suspiciously sudden signs of Indian assertiveness. Is there any point in risking a resounding US rebuff?

    Perhaps the Indian approach of slowly allowing its presence to be globally felt through a sure and steady economic rise is best.

    I would prefer India acting with more mettle towards all, especially home-grown and foreign terrorist groups, criminal countries & media monkeys. But that ain’t gonna happen. So why make a petulant bandar-naach in front of the world’s greatest power when we can’t even discipline a puny, poxy Nepal?

    3. Certain advantages have been achieved, even if only by default. There were risks of further US outsourcing curbs. That has not materialised. There is not even a hint of the issue being raised in G20 either. This tacit acceptance guarantees thousands of Indian jobs. And if the USA does a volte-face in future, India has the right to reciprocate.

    The world of international trade and commerce is murky and opaque. Who knows what goes on? Its secrecy is almost as ruthless as the world of nuclear weapons.

    (a) The French helped Israel build its nuclear facilities at Dimona. So France = ally of Israel.

    (b) Few years later, France gives Osirak, a nuclear materials testing reactor, to Iraq. Saddam installs it in Al Tuwaitha Nuclear Centre near Bagdad in 1977. Iraq is developing the capability to build a bomb that can wipe out Israel. In a few years France = now arch enemy of Israel.

    In 1981, Israel launches a sudden and successful air strike against Al Tuwaitha, demolishing it. The strike is called Operation OPERA !!

    So the Allies distrust in Saddam’s WMDs, inspite of failing to find them, is not mispalced at all.

    (c) The briliant Jewish scientist Klaus Fuchs is an emigree to Britain, fleeing from his homeland Nazi Germany. He works in Britain’s nuclear effort, and is sent by the British team to Los Alamos to study the US nuclear facilities. Los Alamos welcomes the British team, opening its entire facilities to them. Klaus Fuchs comes across highly confidential information. Oppenheimer later said, that if Los Alamos was comprised of ‘cells’, then Fuchs had access to the ‘innermost cell’.

    Yet no one knows that Klaus Fuchs is a Communist spy. Britain had not screened him adequately as he was a fleeing Jewish refugee from Germany. The Americans did not screen him since they assumed the sending delegation from Britain had done so. Fuchs has made extensive notes, & promptly hands them to USSR, who builds the bomb. Fuchs = Soviet hero.

    (d) China now wants a bomb. The Soviet Union provides it with ample assistance, sending manuals, calculations, scientists, teams and some funding. Yet China cannot seem to perfect the calculations. Time after time they are failing. Why? Because the Soviets are feeding them false information. USSR doesn’t want PRC to build a bomb at all!!

    Yet help comes from an unexpected source. Klaus Fuchs, now freed, divulges all of his secrets to Chinese students in E.Germany, & China builds the bomb. USSR weeps. Klaus Fuchs = now enemy of USSR.

    (e) Mr AQ Khan. Stealing secrets in the Dutch nuclear facility he is working in. Holland suspects him in 1972 and wants to arrest him. They are stopped by …. the CIA. Ostensibly to enable CIA to see “who his contacts are, what actions he takes”. In reality, CIA is protecting him.

    Eventually, AQ Khan finishes stealing all the info he needs by 1975, a good time to leave. CIA has protected him in his stealing of data and returning to Pakistan. The data relates to enrichment of plutonium. Now Pakistan can craete a bomb on its own, for which the rockets can be provided by USA, as Pakistan is not clever enough to build a missile even after stealing secrets. Then that bomb can be used against USA’s hated foe India, India goes up in spiritual smoke, and no one can blame the USA. Hahaha, what fun for Uncle Sam. What larks.

    India does not go up in flames. Pakistan does not buy US misiles. Pakistan is courted by China. Uses Chinese missiles, and sells enhanced secrets to Libya, Iran and even North Korea. North Korea is armed, willing to do China’s evil bidding against any foe, even the USA if required. And no one can blame China, as it is ‘non-state Pakistani ACTORs’ who have done the harm.

    Uncle Sam is smiling no more !!

  98. @h2b2
    And Indian Air defence personnel were at the Iraqi reactor facility along with Indian scientists when Israeli F16s bombed it.

    Also, with US approval, Britain gifts Rolls Royce engines to Russia which reverse engineers it to use it in the first generation Migs, which do a wedgie on USAF in Korea.

  99. @HHBB,

    Thanks for sharing the transcript of the Obama speech, albeit edited. Negative things are always repeated out of context umpteen number of times until that is the only thing that remain in peoples mind. I appreciate you doing the same for positive aspects of the speech.


  100. still waiting for the ss ray obituary…

  101. Certain advantages have been achieved, even if only by default. There were risks of further US outsourcing curbs. That has not materialised.

    This is the advantage of setting expectations so low it is impossible to be disappointed.

    Obama has done no favor to us by not further curbing ooutsourcing. Besides, that is not a decision he would announce in India if he wanted to do it. That is something he would announce and implement in the US. Here, he spoke sweet nothings about Panchatantra, Vivekananda and walked away creating US jobs and leaving his mellifluous speechifying to us. Manmohan Singh, a man not accustomed to standing up to those wielding real power (if he was, he wouldn’t be the PM) would not mind.

  102. Suhas,

    Your scepticism is fine, but what is your proposal about the ‘demonstrated action’ we should have undertaken? Should we have :

    (a) told the President of the USA point blank not to come? or

    (b) once he arrives, gain our revenge by completely ignoring him & 1st lady & entourage? or

    (c) furiously pound our fists in meetings informing him that we don’t care a dime for his praise of Indian achievements, and that his selfish motives are transparent in spite of his hollow platitudes?

    Tell me, what should we have done?

    All of us daydream about better conditions than we stew in. IF only Manmohan were a stronger world leader, IF only we were a people as assertive as Pakistan. IF only our media were not so violently antagonistic towards Indian interests. If this, If that.

    The exremely sad reality is that we are not. By a long margin. We are a nation recovering after a millenia of dire humiliation & horrific tyranny. We are a people as divided as confetti, who cannot even manage a teenage brawl in our backyard like Nepal & Sri Lanka. We cannot prevent a few pimply foreign media-monkeys 24/7 churning out woeful tales of faeces smirched Indian real estate, & yet some harbour delusions of ebing given the guest-of-honour seat at the World Dining Tablee?

    If this was China, there would be a few missing foreign media personnel accompanied by and novel tasting meat lumps in the soup da jour. But this is not. This is India.

    By all means dream the beautiful dream. But first walk the walk to talk the talk. Our power will come in time. Our day will arrive. Our tragic history and weird & unique background are such that we will not be able to accelerate our clout by throwing a hissy fit.

    That is the point. Manmohan cannot assert against Laloo. Or the Marxists. Or Gilani. Or DMK. Or Bukhari. Or even Nepal. Certainly not against Pakistan. Musharraf came to India, trashes protocol by lording over his visit and ordering press conferences at will. Calls India a bully. Alludes to Indian women being immoral by saying they show more flesh (‘is is a cultural thing’ sic). And this is the war criminal responsible for the massacre of Hindus in Balochistan and the unprovoked war on Kargil.

    What did we do to put the jerkiest jerk of all in place? Thats right. Nada. And we are supposed to rebuff a USA that is hinting at friendship to us?

    Obama made no false promises about his visit. He categorically mentioned upfront that he was here to create US jobs. Denying the media the opportunity to falsify it as a trip to “grant the starving millions of Indians some aid”.

    You stated ‘low expectations’. Given our bizarrely weak foundation, one that is unparalleled in history, better to start low, create a solid base, then grow at an accelerated pace. Look at Narendra Modi. A man who did not speak much before consolidating Gujarat’s prosperity. And when that progress is unassailably entrenched, he can blow his trumpet at will. If you want to aim for the sky like Pakistan & China by publicly slighting the USA, we will come a crashing down on our flat faces at the first hurdle.

    And what’s wrong with Obama’s showering praise on India? I prefer an Obama visiting us & acknowledging India’s greatness, past and present, EVEN IF HE DOESN’T MEAN IT, to an uncouth Musharraf visiting & insulting Indian women as flesh-displayers, AND ESPECIALLY MEANING IT.

  103. Suhas,

    You may find the following ‘list of tangible benefits from this trip’ useful. Some items are from the Daily Pioneer:

    1. The severe controls on high-end tech exports have been lifted. India can thus gain access to cutting edge missiles, rockets and satellites.

    2. DRDO & ISRO were required to obtain ‘specific licenses’ on dual-use tech transfers. Further, when their names were put on the “entities list”, they could not even gain any access to dual technology.

    3. I consider the USAs support for India becoming a permanent UNSC member more than symbolic. If it were hollow, it would have ended with a wishywashy weak statement of hope. But Obama elaborated on this by laying down pre-conditions to move towards gaining that status(Burma, Iran). This seems to suggest that the USA’s intentions are more than cursory.

    4..The joint-statement issued by USA & India categorically mentiones :
    (a) need to extirpate terrorist infrastructure & safe havens in Afghan & Pak,
    (b) need for terrorists INCLUDING LET to be defeated, &
    (c) perpetrators of Mumbai terrorist attack should be brought to justice.

    Clearly pointing the finger to Pak saying that this is not an insularly hatched attack by not-state ACTORS (sic), but one whose fountainhead perpetrators are still at large. The tone is getting more and more strict as time passes.

    5. The powers agreed to strengthen existing regular strategic consultations on East Asia, & expand STRATEGIC consultation on global issues. This is nothing but a veiled reference to promoting India’s role to contain Beijing. It was a task we would have to assume sooner or later. For our very survival. It was the proverbial elephant in the room that we all dreaded talking about. We may as well take the first step now. I consider this enforced play of the Indian hand a highly positive deve3lopment.

    6. A huge chunk (I trhink 40%) of the $10 Billion deals relate to purely commercial transactions, which will benefit India’s trade and infrastructure massively. This includes many commercial aircraft (for Spiceject), a powerplant from GE (for Reliance) & high-end mining equipment (for a Reliance subsidiary). These are inputs vital for our infrastructural development.

    So you see Suhas, this visit has acheived more than just mantras from Panchatantra.

  104. This is the best read I have had on Indian politics in years.

  105. Brilliant piece GB!

    Obama and his people have (as usual) catered to their self interest. It is the Indian media and politicians that have functioned in their usual ass-licking attitude and brought humiliation to our country. His trip certainly did not deserve the kind of non stop attention it got in the media

  106. H2B2
    Refreshing perspective & nicely put. The forum was mising you.

  107. Hi Lalit,

    Thanks for nice words. I’d emigrated a while back & joined a telecom co. The employer provided my home connection, & as since they have strict rules, I decided not to post comments on RTDTM. I’ve got my own connection now.

    Hope things are fine here. I realise Arnabda published his book. Well done to him; he is a credit to us all.

  108. Love or hatred for Obama notwithstanding, India is looking at maximizing its benefits. I guess we don’t need to love or hate a country or its president to increase our returns. I’m sure all the commentators here agree to this. The criticism or the fondness for a person/state is just details.

  109. The second anniversary of the Jihad attacks in Mumbai falls next week. Are Non residents, in their respective countries, putting pressure on their local governments to put sanctions on Pakistan for not handing over the attack masterminds?

    Should they do that?

  110. GB – You are a hypocrite – No doubt about that 🙂

  111. GGB please write on gg scam, shamelessness of conggress leadership and silence of weak opposition…(appeal use 2g instead of g where ever you can …as the PP OF Faking news says.make it a trend)

  112. All those who were seeing positives out of Obama’s visit, expect more to come!!
    US throws water over India’s hopes for UNSC seat

    The US has cautioned against expecting any breakthrough “anytime soon” on the UN Security Council reforms, dampening India’s hopes for a permanent seat just a week after President Barack Obama backed its quest for this prestigious slot.

  113. @Shan

    Its refreshing to hear YOU speak up for Hindu Samskaras, for a change. Finally, the prodigal son returns home! *sarcasm*

    The Hindu tradition of touching the feet of elders includes touching the feet of relatives, teachers, saints and “well-wishers”.

    The last time I checked, any US President does not fit any of the above categories – especially the “well-wisher” category, given his country’s quest to balkanise India.

    In case you still didn’t get the memo, you should enlighten yourself about “Operation Topac”.

    And oh, when I was a child, I don’t remember being asked to touch the feet of any underworld mafia’s representative or the current representative of an arms-dealing entity that just gave my hostile neighbour another 2 Billion dollars worth of weaponry to burn up my home (India).

    Such visiting heads of state (including silver-tongued orators) are certainly not our “well-wishers” whose feet deserve to be touched. Give him a handshake and let him be. That should suffice.

    Since you are in the habit of spewing “ad hominem” labels, may I digress from the core issue here and respond to you in the same vein? Speaking of “contempt” (a word you used), may I say that I do have contempt for a White House Groupie who sings paens to the humble backgrounds of someone living half a world away, but sheds no tears for fellow Bengalis of humble backgrounds who are being viciously driven out of their homes and hearths in the thousands, in your immediate neighbourhood (viz. Deganga)?

    Vicarious Empathy, like Charity, begins at HOME.

  114. @Bengal Voice: Good comments but not quite. One thing about Bengali/Hindu/desi psychology you must understand is that our overt appreciation and drooling for ‘phoren maal’ has gotten genetic over the last centuries – psychological (d)evolution, you may say. As for Hindu Samskaras, anything good cannot really be a “Hindu thing” and is to be freely usurped/used by one and all without due credit to its original practitioners – so the coconuts (Nehruvians – brown outside, white inside) would say that All Indian kids are taught to touch elders’ feet as if its a Christian/Muslim/Jewish/secular practice in India to touch the feet of elders. But of course, the things/practices that are really Hindu are casteism and widow burning. So, don’t presume anyone is returning home – its a temporary high and will pass.

  115. @ Debadrida
    Nicely put. I almost wrote a similar post, but then desisted from sending it.

    Recently, after I had given a presentation at a certain function, an NRI lady came up to me and proudly told me that her teenage daughter (born in the US) is quickly learning “Hindu” values and good knowledge of Dharma.

    I asked her – how?

    She said, “by watching Bollywood movies”.

  116. Let me tell you a secret – the president of the United States is the head of state of US. He is elected by the people of the USA to serve their interests. He doesn’t exist to serve the interests of Indian people. His job is not to make India developed or to protect India from Pakistan.

    Seriously – what did you expect? Did you fall for the same US-India bhai bhai crap that was going on in the press? We don’t need a seat in the Security council (what the hell is the use of that), we don’t need to buy weapons from the US. Those are not out priorities. We need infrastructure, healthcare and such things. And did we gain any such element from the current visit? Well there was one agreement related to energy which is definitely useful. But we needed a lot more. And we just didn’t demand that much.

    In reality foreign policy is about business. You call him derisively as a salesman. That is exactly what heads of state are supposed to do. They are supposed to sell their country as a good investment destination. They are supposed to make agreements which can bring about economic progress. But what did we do? We instead want to play US-India bhai bhai and deceive ourselves that we are allies to the US. Why do we want to do that? Why can’t we just do trade with USA and not harbour such grandiose ideas which can only bring harm to our country? What are the perks of being a US ally? Nothing, as is amply demonstrated by Pakistan.

    We would be better served by concentrating on our priority areas rather than buy huge weapons supplies and building up our defense and playing ally to the US (which is a hugely destructive force right now in the world). We expect US to scold Pakistan (like a child running to the teacher LOL). The Indian leaders have to grow up and underdstand our priorities.

  117. Its very simple. US remains a superpower coz of being a country backed by lobbyists. When I say lobbyists its purely from the business perspective. The tobacco lobby, the oil lobby, steel lobby and so on which for ages have dictated foreign policies.

    The superpower can remain so if these industries and lobbies stay rich and successful. Wars need huge bankrolling. US spends and yet makes billions by selling weapons and its hugely privatized. So it is no surprise their weapons are readily available for purchase. A weapon manufacturer does not worry if their weapons are going to be used to kill good people or bad people, just like a fertilizer manufacturer cannot worry if their product will be used by a farmer or a car bomb expert.

    The real issue is continuing to give aids to Pakistan when they can easily regulate and monitor the spending. When the ex-army chief Musharraf himself admits having diverted funds to arm against India, then the so called unity, collaboration and concern to work together with India must also feature as a chief agenda in the US-Pak policy.

    On one hand, Obama speaks about opening markets and on the other hand US still adopts trade protectionism measures for their domestic steel and other industries. They still bully other nations into increasing the pace of adopting WTO polices. As long as their domestic markets are unhurt, they are fine. Well for any sensible government protecting the interests of their citizens, businesses and wealth is the prime important duty.

    So when Obama asks of us to become vocal on issues non-democratic or to avoid the non-aligned policies; they are again restoring to their much famed hypocrisy. Countries like Saudi Arabia have long known to be human rights violators, Afghanistan & Pakistan has proven to be breeding grounds of terror camps funded directly or indirectly with US money and weapons. I believe it is in Indian government’s right to decide if we are to be financial and economical benefit by being non-aligned with any country then so be it.

    Of course we can hold closed door meetings with the alleged non-democratic nations and raise our concerns and find resolutions but again there is no need to sever relations with anyone by shouting into the microphone.

    The US administration (Obama) has created higher H1B visa restrictions and if anyone says its to prevent misuse. It is hogwash, coz legitimate companies are not being restricted too. The Neuman H1B memo sent to USCIS screams protectionism and discrimination.

    So rather than talking about strengthening of US-India ties, lets see it clearly that US needs India more than ever before. Not for oil this time but a greater resource – the increasingly richer middle class (Obama mentioned this in one of his speeches in India too). This new middle class has higher buying power and so more money for US. He eased restrictions on exports to India from US and not the other way around. He came here to sell weapons not buy anything from us. He made all the right noises and left us with dreams of a India-US partnership where we will continue to be screwed.

  118. Very well written. However not very well researched. Gibbs put up a scene because it was agreed that 8 will be allowed and then suddenly the number was cut down to 5 before the event.

  119. @Bengal Voice:

    Completely pointless post by you – just to get at me. We were taught to touch the feet of elders we would meet, or guests – even if we didn’t like them. However, there were really no directions provided to us kids about underworld guys, maybe because they were not on the radar at all. BTW, you seem to presume that just because I do not subscribe to a right-wing agenda, or organized religious practices, I also repudiate all traditions and “sanskaras”. But that does not matter. The point is that the parent respected Obama enough to ask the son to touch his feet. A parent has that right. That’s part of our sanskara, as far as I know.

    I become a White House groupie just because I like Obama? That’s really intelligent. What’s equally “intelligent” is couching stupid arguments (“You like Obama but not Bengali victims? You bad, bad man” as if one precludes the other) in the garb of responding to me “in the same vein”. 🙂

    I don’t need to advice from self-righteous, moralists about who my heart should bleed for or where my charity should start. Keep your advice to yourself. We disagree on a lot of things, but baseless attacks on me here will not cause me to think like you any more.

  120. We are not a superpower. Centuries of colonial rule has effectively crushed our back bones. Forget the US guy( he is a SHAHEB after all), most indians are still in awe of anything remotely “bileti” or “english”.
    Thats why well to do shopper’s at Spencers( english name) address salespeople (wearing ties) as “Sir ” & madam”..seen it too many times..
    Also any steward in an upscale restaurant with a suit & an accent gets addressed as Sir by people who spend thousands on a meal.
    Its in all (atleast most) of use just blaming the sarkari guys

  121. India on the other hand, has resisted US any access to its bases, nor has expressed any desire to militarily participate in Afghansitan, against Jihadis.

    Thank ALMIGHTY GOD for that! I would rather be part of an ugly, “cowardly” nation like that than nations that wag their you-know-what and get neutered by superpowers!

  122. Thank ALMIGHTY GOD for that! I would rather be part of an ugly, “cowardly” nation like that than nations that wag their you-know-what and get neutered by superpowers!

    To continue…., What I meant was, I am glad that India decided to remain neutral during the cold war and Mid-east crisis, while Pakistan and middle-eastern powers had a bi-polar relationship with USA. Look at the state of every American ally. They keep toggling between military dictatorship or theocratic totalitarianism. I would rather have a stand-offish relationship with bullies like the pentagon than join in all their gang wars, just to become richer. Lets not pretend that America is not playing a covert hand in furthering India-pakistan issues. Tomorrow, if India decided to take a decicive action about kashmir and Pakistan stopped its militant activities, it might cause a lot of concern elsewhere. You know how they celeberate diversity in USA, I’m sure the secretly hate the real diversity in India. That means they can’t unanimously screw us over.

  123. @shan

    Looks like I touched a raw nerve there, huh? Tsk..Tsk..Before you start hyperventilating, take a deep breath and ask yourself – “Did you forget to take your medication, again? Or did I jar you awake from your favourite foot-fetish dream?” I heard the White House needs a desi shoeshine boy; so go ahead and apply. Who knows? You may even get selected for the job. That way, you can get a move-up in your career and satisfy your innermost desires at the same time. 😉

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