At President's fingertips: Ambedkar, Chandni Chowk
Surely, there were no scenes of MPs climbing over benches in Parliament's Central Hall to shake hands with the world's most powerful leader. Shekhar Iyer reports.delhi Updated: Nov 09, 2010 01:39 IST
Surely, there were no scenes of MPs climbing over benches in Parliament's Central Hall to shake hands with the world's most powerful leader.
But, by the time he uttered Jai Hind to wrap up his 35-minute address, US President Barack Obama had sold his vision of India and must have created a record of sorts: several rounds of applause — almost one every minute — and a standing ovation that showed the success of his final charm offensive.
Obama uttered every word that a distinguished gathering present at the House wanted to hear.
From Indian contribution of zero to Panchatantra and Gandhiji to Ambedkar, Obama spun his argument to drive home "the promise of India" and why India will have to shoulder greater responsibility with greater power and "put aside old habits and attitudes" that keep people apart.
Beginning with bahut dhanyavad in Hindi for the warm hospitality he and Michelle Obama received, Obama struck a warm chord with his tone of humility.
"I am mindful that I might not be standing before you, as President of the United States, had it not been for Gandhiji and the message he shared with America and the world," said Obama as he traced Mahatma's influence on civil rights leader Martin Luther King.
Speaking with the help of a teleprompter, Obama reached out to the masses.
"Whether you live in a village in Punjab or the bylanes of Chandni Chowk...an old section of Kolkata or a new high-rise in Bangalore — every person deserves the same chance to live in security and dignity, to get an education, to find work, and to give their children a better future."