OPINION

Searching for the Indian Obama

January 29, 2009
BangaloreGuy

One of the many welcome factors in Barack Obama's rise has been that the rest of the world, their elite is looking for their own Obama. In doing so, various conclusions have come up, but one thing has remained largely on the radar.

And that has been his race. Barack Obama is being seen as a black man who's become the President of the United States of America. But that's the most superficial - and make no mistake - racist view of the event. Barack Obama has become the President not because, or in spite of being black. He's become the PotUS after establishing that he was the better candidate in terms of views, in terms of Vision - not only winning over the formidable Hillary Clinton machine but also the Republican war Machine. And to top it all, he's made Hillary his Sec. of State. How many people can claim to win over their opponents?

To credit this to his race, and race only, is stupid. Hence the comparisons to Mayawati should stop. Mayawati represents everything that is corrupt about our politics - criminals running the roost, black money, identity politics, cult worship. Barack Obama represents a clean (more or less) break from such politics.

To find the Indian Barack Obama, look elsewhere - look to a competent, clean, inspirational politician, irrespective of his identity - racial, class or otherwise.

BG blogs off and on, on politics, current affairs and anything else that catches his fancy. He used to take his politics rather seriously - but doesn't anymore!
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#1
Temple Stark
URL
January 29, 2009
10:13 AM

You don't already have off-white spineless guys in india? Surely ...

#2
Aaman
URL
January 29, 2009
10:20 AM

We do have Rahul Gandhi, no seriously, Omar Abdullah is the best bet, but he doesn't have national level political support - yet.

#3
suresh naig
January 29, 2009
10:49 AM

In spite of all the plus points of Obama, you have grossly "misunderestimated" the contributions of Bush, in his dramatic win.

#4
Slime_id
January 29, 2009
10:53 AM

Renuka Chowdhury will be the perfect Obama for India. Time we need a person with a head, she is better than Sonia, Rahul Gandhi anyday.

#5
Ronin
URL
January 29, 2009
02:17 PM

Awesome article..Put my confusion abt Mayavati in perspective.

The content and elegance of smallness of the post is great..

Please continue writing..

#6
kerty
January 29, 2009
06:38 PM

Mayawati has the most potential of all the leaders to build bridges and unify a nation. She is in a unique position to end her politics of polarizations that has balkanized the Hindu majority, and thereby she become the grand unifier of Hindu majority which would assure her power for the forseeable future. Usually polarizations would end only when polarizing issues are given back seat by their votaries, and when they see that much coveted power is within their reach by doing so, they would be more than willing to do it. That makes Mayawati power a majority maker in India. It has the power to keep the hindu majority balkanized along caste/class lines or make it united by tailoring its platform for the sake of power. That is what makes BJP and Mayawati to be natural allies, but mutual distrust of each other has pitted potential allies against each other that would see neither of them gaining power.

Congress is seeking to create a grand alliance of all minorities and alienated/atomized Hindu constituencies, but it has to compete with so many smaller parties within same ideological space, it can not woo and unify its own ideological base.

Similarly, unifying only minorities can not yield a majority - it presupposes that majority would remain balkanized and cease to matter - and that there is large enough Hindu dropouts that would give Minority platform a majoritarian finish line. But both BJP and Mayawati can foil that game. That is why congress and SP can never succeed. Communists are a non-actor in a national electoral politics any way, so they do not count. So the grand unifiers can only come from BJP or Mayawati - they both need each other. But Mayawati is in a better position to call the shots - because she can keep the Hindus divided. Congress has laid a siege on Mayawati, as it has set the stage to hijack Mayawati's constituency if she tries to make any move to become a grand hindu majority maker. Congress can win only if hindus are balkanized and atomized, alienated and severed from Hindu fold so Hindu can never come together as a political majority. So odds are staked against Mayawati at present. But things can change very rapidly when political stakes are high.

#7
kerty
January 29, 2009
06:51 PM

Mayawati has the most potential of all the leaders to build bridges and unify a nation. She is in a unique position to end her politics of polarizations that has balkanized the Hindu majority, and thereby she can become the grand unifier of Hindu majority which would assure her power for the forseeable future. Usually polarizations end only when polarizing platform is given back seat by its votaries, and when they see that much coveted power can be within their reach by doing so, forces of history would propel them in that direction. That makes Mayawati power to be a good candidate for becoming a majority maker in India. Her platform has the power to keep the hindu majority balkanized along caste/class lines or make it united by subordinating her platform for the sake of winning a grand political prize. That is what makes BJP and Mayawati to be natural allies, but mutual distrust of each other has pitted these potential allies against each other that would see neither of them gaining power.

Congress is seeking to create a grand alliance of all minorities and alienated/atomized Hindu constituencies, but it has to compete with so many smaller parties within same ideological space, that it can not woo and unify its own ideological base. Further more, unifying only minorities can not yield a majority - it further presupposes that majority would remain balkanized and cease to matter in politics - and that presupposes that there is large enough Hindu dropouts that would give Minority platform a majoritarian finish line. Congress can win only if hindus are balkanized and atomized, alienated and severed from Hindu fold so Hindu can never come together as a political majority, but congress can raid them to turn minoritism into majority maker. But both BJP and Mayawati can foil that game. That is why congress and SP can never be next Obama. Communists are a non-actor in a national electoral politics any way, so they do not count.

Thus, the grand unifier can only come from BJP or Mayawati - but neither is capable on their own and they both need each other. Mayawati is in a better position to call the shots - because she can keep the Hindus divided and dictate terms. She has more to fear from Congress/SP than BJP. Congress has laid a siege on Mayawati, as it has set the stage to hijack Mayawati's constituencies and platform if she tries to make any move to become a grand hindu majority maker. So odds are staked against Mayawati at present. But things can change very rapidly when political stakes are high.

#8
SanjayTheAtheist
January 29, 2009
07:32 PM

What crap. Neither does Mayawati speak any english, nor any other language besides Hindi. (Come to think of it, that's one way she resembles Sonia Gandhi, if in no other way.)

Mayawati isn't looking to align with other left-wing socialist "champions of the downtrodden".
She's looking to grab their voters away from them.

That's why all your other Lefties are running away from her.
When Commies in Kerala approached her for an electoral alliance, she demanded from them the chance to field some of her own party candidates in their state.
Well, as you can imagine, they quickly retreated from their offer.

You see, your other beloved "champions of the downtrodden" aren't quite noble enough to sacrifice their political future just to align with your "saviour" Mayawati.

Reality doesn't quite bend itself to accommodate your fantasies -- now does it, buddy?
But hey, do keep dreaming, if it entertains or distracts you from the unappetizing truth. Heh.

#9
kerty
January 29, 2009
08:04 PM

#6 should be deleted as #7 is same post with few corrections.

#10
kerty
January 29, 2009
08:07 PM

#6 should be deleted as #7 is same post with few corrections.

#11
Arun S Devarajan
January 30, 2009
12:08 AM

Last time I checked, its been barely a week since Obama took over White House. Shouldnt we wait for his policies, actions and the results he produces before deciding whether all the countries should need one Obama of their own?
And Obama the man with the clean image? Did you read his campaign trail statements? He is on record considering threatening a country's(Pakistan) sovereignty to achieve American ends. He still has not opened his mouth about the Palestine Israel issue. I really didnt know that there are so many Obama ad slaves around.

#12
Ledzius
January 30, 2009
12:16 AM

Arun - "He is on record considering threatening a country's(Pakistan) sovereignty to achieve American ends."

In today's circumstances, this is pretty much warranted. As Indians, we should know better.

#13
anon
January 30, 2009
01:00 AM

"To find the Indian Barack Obama, look elsewhere - look to a competent, clean, inspirational politician, irrespective of his identity - racial, class or otherwise."

I think that's asking for too much in a country like India. At best we can expect a leader who is able to forge a union of disparate groups to have a clear majority without having to transcend his/her own identity. Hopefully its someone from the BJP or even Mayawati, certainly not Rahul Gandhi. I don't know for how long Indians will have to put up with the royal family and its monarchial rule. Why didn't the LTTE finish them all off? That would have done all of us a great favour.

#14
Arun S Devarajan
January 30, 2009
01:19 AM

Ledzius:
"In today's circumstances, this is pretty much warranted. As Indians, we should know better."

If you believe that this is warranted in this or any climate, I would like to point out to you that such an action goes against the fundamental basis of the way the nations are organized in this world. The basis of the nation state architecture is that people belonging to a geographical area are governed by its own residents, and not external agents. The latter amounts to imperialism (which does exist these days, but that doesnt make it right).
If you believe that India has the right to attack entities in another country, it amounts to controlling the law and order of another country, which violates basic international law. Now, lets turn the tables around. Would you like it, if, say, the Bhutan state started attacking places in Bengal based on some pretexts which dont convince Indian authorities? Do you think that that would be legitimate?
What a lot of us are missing out is that, by blaming Pakistan for every bloody attack, we have shirked our own responsibility to improve our own intelligence and law and order systems within our country, as that doesnt come under serious scrutiny. Such a situation has made it quite easy for random terrorists to plant bombs wherever they like and kill people.

#15
Ledzius
January 30, 2009
01:32 AM

Arun- If Pakistanis trains terrorists and keeps sending them into India to create mayhem, India has every right to attack such terror targets inside Pakistan.

"The basis of the nation state architecture is that people belonging to a geographical area are governed by its own residents, and not external agents. The latter amounts to imperialism (which does exist these days, but that doesnt make it right)."

What rubbish. If India attacks Pakistan's terror infrastructure because the civilian govt there is unable to do anything about it, how does that amount to imperialism?

Not all wars amount to imperialism. Read the Geneva conventions. There are rules to be followed in armed conflict, it doesn't say armed conflict is not permitted in the first place.

Nation states have been at war with each other throughout the ages. Sometimes it is because of imperialism, sometimes it is for justified causes. In Pak's case, it would be the latter.

#16
Arun S Devarajan
January 30, 2009
03:37 AM

Ledzius:
"If Pakistanis trains terrorists and keeps sending them into India to create mayhem, India has every right to attack such terror targets inside Pakistan."
1) There should be proper proof that it is Pakistani state that is training such terrorists
2) India have the right to react. The bone of contention is the mode of reaction. If they attack, and we attack back, we lose our moral ground for all the issues we cried against in the first place.
I am fairly impressed by the mode of reaction that our government has chosen - that of using diplomatic means to create international pressure on pakistan to dismantle the networks. Thats a way more peaceful and right solution to the problem than the war that you are proposing.
The only time and Indian war against Pakistan can be legitimised is when there is democratic unanimous internation support for this action. Otherwise, it amounts to an illegal intervention in an alien country's affairs.

#17
Arun S Devarajan
January 30, 2009
03:40 AM

Ledzius:
"Nation states have been at war with each other throughout the ages." While this statement is right, there have been very very very few cases of such wars being justifiable in any rational framework.
All those illegal cases amount to subtle forms of use of strong unfair external pressure to influence internal issues of a country.

#18
anon
January 30, 2009
05:34 AM

"1) There should be proper proof that it is Pakistani state that is training such terrorists"

Why do you still doubt Pakistan's hand in training terrorists? What more proof do you need? The I.S.I's involvement has been traced to many attacks. Isn't I.S.I. part of of the Pakistani state?

"I am fairly impressed by the mode of reaction that our government has chosen - that of using diplomatic means to create international pressure on pakistan to dismantle the networks."
Nothing impressive there.Not like we have the option/choice of attacking Pakistan,so we're just wringing our hands in despair hoping that the international community would take notice and do something about it.

#19
Ledzius
January 30, 2009
06:29 AM

anon- "so we're just wringing our hands in despair hoping that the international community would take notice and do something about it."

Well, even if the international community (read the US) decides to act, our friend Arun will be terribly upset that it would be violating Pakistan's sovereignty.

#20
Arun S Devarajan
January 30, 2009
08:03 AM

Ledzius:
"Well, even if the international community (read the US) decides to act, our friend Arun will be terribly upset that it would be violating Pakistan's sovereignty."
Well, the US has many non-military options to get its way there in Pakistan. Like aid, weapons supply, apart from simple diplomatic measures.

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