January 20, 2009, an historic day, when the first African-American President of United States of America was sworn in. I was one among millions of spectators who were glued to the television throughout the day watching the event unfold. I don’t intend to write about the new President Barak Obama. Too much has been written and discussed about him already and I am not going to add to the overdose. What I want to share, however, are my feelings as I saw the Inauguration Day proceedings.
The more I watched the more sorry I felt about the dismal state of politics in our country. I saw such a world of difference in the conduct of politicians in US and in India. The new President began his address by thanking his predecessor Bush for his service and cooperation. His criticism about Bush’s regime was limited to his policies and did not target him as a person. On the other hand, Mr. Bush was seen describing Obama as a “Good Man”. What a sharp contrast this was compared to the mud-slugging that we witness in India.
Obama’s speech was short and touched only essentials. He did not make any reference to the issues of African-American population. Instead focused on immediate concerns of the country as a whole. Again so very different from the caste issues which always hover over Indian politics.
Look at the journey Obama has made to earn the kind of love and respect he is getting from his fellow citizens. Compare this with India. The country’s ruling party is proposing the name of Rahul Gandhi as the next Prime Minister. His qualification? – he happens to be born in a family that has given India three Prime Ministers in the past. Yes, we are talking about the largest democracy in the world. A bigger joke is the reason behind his selection. Media reports say that the Congress President (whether she deserves that post is in itself questionable) does not trust anybody else in her own party. This is the same party that has produced the most eminent leaders in India. Compare this with Obama, who has not hesitated to include republicans in his trusted team.
Well..there is no dirth of shameful facts about Indian politics today. The country’s second largest party to have even considered the name of Narendra Modi as the Prime Ministerial candidate is shocking. A person who failed (if not encouraged) to stop one of the worst carnage the country has seen in recent times. Worse still, he is not even apologetic for what happened. To top it all we see the country’s top industrialists supporting him for obvious reasons.
And ofcourse..how can I miss Munna Bhai. Sanjay Dutt will contest elections because he reminded people of Gandhi….can you beat this :-O.. Guilty for carrying a mass destruction weapon !!!…so much for peace and non-violence.
I am not saying that US politics is clear of dirty tactics….but atleast it is not so outright as in India. Atleast there is some hope for improvement, which is not apparent in the near future in India. Inauguration Day certainly left a feeling of sorrow in me. It was for the first time that I realised why some Indians choose to settle in the US. I don’t intend doing so but the thought did cross my mind….and this is disturbing enough. But I also know I can’t point fingers at anybody. I am equally to blame as so many other educated people in our country who do not voice their opinions, who are reluctant to unite and hold the political thugs to account.