Barak Hussein Obama has caused quite a stir in the political arena in the country. As expected, anything and everything written or said about the two biggest political parties – BJP and Congress, sets off a string of verbal argument and much debate in the country.
This is precisely what transpired between the Congress and BJP, this following the much-anticipated release of the former President of the United States, Barak Obama’s latest book, a memoir of his political career, which was released globally.
“A Promised Land” is an honest take by Obama on his views, relations, and opinions in the high – octane diplomatic world, set like an exciting movie plot.
The memoir to be released in two parts; the first part describes his first four years in the office. Hence, Mr. Narendra Modi, the current PM of the country, does not find any mention. Still, the second part is likely to include his impressions of Narendra Modi.
As expected, his candid thoughts and viewpoints did not sit well with several sections supporting the Congress Party and within the party circles.
A lawyer in Uttar Pradesh has filed a civil suit against Obama and has demanded that an FIR be lodged as the book allegedly ‘insults’ the leaders and hurts the followers’ sentiments.
Barak Obama – Respected, Popular, and Greatly Admired.
Barak Obama, a member of the Democratic Party, was the first African- American president of the United States. He served as the US President from 2009 – 2017; he was sworn in for the second term in 2013, after defeating Republican opponent Mitt Romney.
Barak Obama has many firsts to his credit; apart from being the first African – American President, he worked for the inclusion and rights of LGBT Americans. During his re-election, same-sex marriages were legalized nationwide in 2015.
He advocated for Gun Control, a common and serious issue in America.
He was quite frank and solemn about his views on Global warming that led to The Paris Agreement on global climate change.
In foreign Policy – he ordered military intervention in Iraq in response to ISIL, continued with the process of ending US combat operations in Afghanistan, initiated sanctions against Russia for invading Ukraine and Russia’s interference with the United States Elections in 2016, JCPOA Nuclear Deal with Iran, and normalized relations with Cuba.
Through his work, decisions, viewpoints, and standing up for what he understood led to improved relations and reputation of the United States with the rest of the world and allowed for a significant improvement in the American economy at home.
A Promised Land
The book is an account of his experiences as the President of the United States. His book recounting his experiences also has his candid take on the Indian Political scene and his relations with many in the country’s political office.
In his book, he mentions that India became a more market–based economy in the 1990s, which led to significant growth and advancement and the Indian middle–class rise.
As Indians, we love any mention and validation, especially from the West. If that is coming from the US’s former President, then it is as important as it gets!
Obama’s take on the Congress and its leaders.
In his book, he states that on his visit to New Delhi in December 2010, the then PM, Dr. Manmohan Singh ‘looked frail’ and much older than his age.
He mentions how Singh had expressed his apprehensions over Obama’s decision to ignore anti – Pakistan calls post the 2008, 26/11 Mumbai blasts and its impact on the strengthening of the BJP.
He describes Manmohan Singh as honest, thoughtful, and wise with whom he shared a ‘productive’ relationship.
‘Manmohan Singh, the chief architect of India’s economic transformation, seemed like a fitting emblem of this progress: a member of of the tiny, often persecuted Sikh religious minority who had risen to the highest office of the land, and a self – effacing technocrat who had won peoples trust not by engaging their passions but by bringing about higher living standards and maintain a well – earned reputation for not being corrupt.’
He also credits Manmohan Singh with engineering the modernization of India’s economy.
However, in his candid style, he admits that he wasn’t sure if the election of Manmohan Singh as the PM was an indication of the future of Indian democracy or whether it was an aberration.
In his book, Obama describes Sonia Gandhi as ‘a striking woman in her 60s, who had dark and probing eyes, with a quiet, regal presence.’
He mentions that it was clear that Dr. Singh owed his position in the office to Sonia Gandhi, and that he was chosen only because as an elderly Sikh with no national political base, he professed no threat to her then 40 – year old son, Rahul Gandhi, whom it was evident she was grooming to take over the Congress Party.
He recounts how at dinner, Sonia listened more than she spoke and redirected all policy matters to Dr. Singh. She mostly tried to steer the conversation towards her son Rahul Gandhi and realized that her ‘power’ could be attributed to ‘shrewd and forceful intelligence.’
Obama, in his book, describes Rahul Gandhi as smart and earnest, and his good looks as similar to that of his mother, Sonia Gandhi.
He mentions how Rahul asked about the 2008 presidential campaign and that he was quite forth with his thoughts on progressive politics.
However, he also mentions that to him, Rahul Gandhi came across as unformed and with a nervous quality to him. He compared him to a student who had done his coursework and was eager to impress his teacher but lacked the passion and the aptitude to gain expertise on the subject.
BJP and Narendra Modi will most likely be in the limelight once the second half of the book is released.
However, in the first book, towards the end of the visit to India, he does mention BJP – divisive nationalism and wonders what would happen once Dr. Singh leaves office. Would the baton be passed on successfully to Rahul Gandhi, thus fulfilling the destiny planned by his mother, Sonia Gandhi, and preserving Congress Party’s dominance over BJP, in the Indian Political scene?
Reactions, Counter – Arguments, and ‘I told you so.’
Several in the Congress party took the approach of downplaying Obama’s impressions and observations of Rahul Gandhi. But they were equally quick to lap up the praise on Manmohan Singh.
Several claimed that they do not hold much weightage to an individual’s opinion in a book.
Tarik Anwar, congress leader, said that Rahul Gandhi has evolved over the years; several were quick to unfollow Obama on Twitter.
BJP, in its typical style, scoffed at the comments on Rahul Gandhi with “I Told You So.”
Barack Obama still enjoys tremendous popularity both in the US and in the rest of the world.
He is still one of the most prominent personalities. He is a world leader whose stature and his outlook is widely valued and respected.
Hence it is evident that his book that covers his thoughts, experiences, and outlook towards America, the World, and International ties are widely sought after. The book has already set records towards ‘most copies sold.’