With the arrival of Obama in India, the English national channels blocked out everything else. It appeared as though the whole country ground to a halt with the arrival of the American President.
Then Obama made his first speech at the Taj – and BJP reacted. Obama didn’t utter the P word (Pakistan). When he spoke of 26/11, he didn’t put the blame at Pakistan’s door. Then the party felt it had overreacted – and retracted. Rudi began to make ahem – ahem sounds and said that he didn’t mean this but he meant that! Maybe the party leadership must have told him that to resist the euphoria might be a mistake. BJP might come to power in the next parliamentary election and Obama might still be around in the White House – so let’s keep him happy sort of a thing. Anyway, what is interesting is that BJP recanted.
But the Channels approach was really really interesting.
NDTV’s Barkha Dutt was as usual trying to project an image of total neutrality, but was actually egging on the expert commentators to come out with tangy statements. But none really obliged. The P word issue had actually begun to look silly.
TIMES NOW took the cake. Arnab in his usual style went hammer and tong after Obama. He pointed out how Clinton during his visit ‘gifted’ India with a condemnatory remark on Pakistan, and Obama should have taken at least a ‘baby step’ in that direction.
Arnab, you are incorrigible!
CNN IBN’s Sagarika Ghose concluded her efforts to sensationalise the absence of the P word with a sensible remark that one should understand that Obama is tight rope walking in south East Asia, and so we should tone down our rhetoric.
HEADLINES TODAY was thoroughly immature. Was totally displeased about Obama’s deafening silence about Pakistan.
Among the participants, i could agree with that outspoken bureaucrat turned politician Mani Shankar Iyer. Why should we expect Obama to say anything about Pakistan, he asked. We know Pak is behind the attack, and it is a bilateral problem. Why drag America into it? He was dismissive in his language and body language about this avoidable storm in the tea cup,and made the BJP and the media look silly.
While the inane politicians and stale media made fools of themselves, Young India did us proud. No slavishness, no applause at the slightest compliment about India that dropped from the lips of the US President (unlike the CEOs the day before). The young crowd at St. Xavier’s carried themselves with utmost confidence, and dealt with the President of the United States on equal terms.
When Obama declared that India has risen, there was no thunderous applause. It was as though we don’t need anyone to tell us that. We know. The response of the young girl who stood behind Obama epitomises the attitude of young India. Obama’s acknowledgement that India has risen elicited from her an approving nod accompanied by a poised smile.
About Obama's dialogue with the students at St. Xavier's - guess when Michelle Obama asked the young men and women to field tough questions to her husband, she didn’t think they’d take her so seriously.
For it was young India that forced him to utter the P word.
What’s your take on jihad, was the first question?
Why don’t you declare Pakistan a terror state? asked another.
Of course, Obama handled the questions well and the youth were impressed.
The young India, a sample of which Obama met at St. Xavier’s, is ushering in an India set free from the colonial hangover.
The schriszophrenic India has been cured.
I get a gut feeling India is safe in the hands of this healthy generation.