Monday, November 10, 2008

Guess we can ... find an Obama for India.

Some bloggers are wondering if India can find an Obama. Do you think we can? WHAT DOES BARACK OBAMA STAND FOR?

I know there are plenty of chinks in his armour, but doesn't he remind you of Gandhi? He gave each one of us, 'hope of a better day'... Even if he does nothing, his speech has managed to make people all over the world see that we all want the same things from our leaders!

We all want someone who would have the 'determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress'; a leader who would respect the importance of 'the values of self-reliance, individual liberty, and national unity'; someone who can say 'I will never forget who this victory truly belongs to – it belongs to you.'

In my opinion, the people who straightaway disqualify are :
1. Modi (communal, right winger, prejudiced, violent, divisive)
2. Vajpayee (weak, right winger, communal)
3. Advani (the less said the better)
4. Mayawati (too full of herself, not a clean record, not unifying)
5. Lalu Yadav (past record not very productive, pending court cases)
6. All Thakres (violent, parochial, divisive)...
Do add more to the list.

And those who may not be perfect but can be considered (not necessarily politicians)
1. Manmohan Singh (Educated, courageous, unbiased, clean record)
2. APJ Abdul Kalam (a brilliant visionary, extremely popular, too old?)
3. Priyanka Gandhi Vadhera (young, mixed race & religion, educated, no past record, except her family)
4. Omar Abdullah (heard him speak very well, and he talks sense, on TV)
5. Rahul Gandhi (young, secular, mixed race and religion, no criminal record :) But ... he is only known for his dynasty!!!)
6. Anna Hazare (determined, can lead, courageous, too old? No political experience.)

I noticed how we won't allow anyone above sixty to do most jobs, we retire them promptly, even if they are fit, but we don't think twice before electing them to govern the country!

Who do you think could be India's Obama?


D said...

Vajpayee is just old, so forget about him being right or left winger any more. Or even weak. On the contary, I think Manmohan Singh is a weak PM. If he was anywhere close to Obama, why do we not feel the exhilaration on having him for our PM that America feels on having Barack for President.

I do second your choice of APJ Abdul Kalam though.

Indian Home Maker said...

D can you think of someone else? I am sure we can come with more names, not necessarily politicians.

Shilpa said...

Nice list. DO not forget about Sachin Pilot. I saw him on one of the political talk shows and he seemed to talk intellectual. Also, Milin Deora. Instead of having these youngsters work on some unknown bill, they should be working with some seasoned politician on important ones and learn quickly so they can be tapped for leadership roles when still young.

Usha Pisharody said...

APJ... thumbs up for him.. all the way! I do not think another, either of his age or younger has been able to capture the idealist in the youth than him!
He truly gives of his time, and himself, especially to the youth.. get him to set the trend, in the sense, get him to set the stage, mould the ones to follow, and be the ONE mandatory advisor every PM should have ... :)

Saw him today, from a long distance and heard him live at a function held near our school, on the occasion of the Birth Centenary Celeb of Swami Ranganathanada ji Maharaj of the Ramakrishna Mission. Had only heard of him so far! Today was a revelation! The way he got the kids listening, repeating and the absolute deafening applause at the end of his speech! And there were upwards of 5000 kids there!!!

None of the others however bright their credentials would do this day, for me :) said...

i wud go for manmohan not much of a fan of the gandhis..n anna hazare is too old.

Chirag said...

Hey IHM, Let me be devils advocate now,
Manmohan Singh: (Not Assertive at all), APJ Abdul Kalam (Yes, Possible but he won't do it),Priyanka Gandhi Vadhera (For What), Omar Abdullah (Biased), Rahul Gandhi (For What, again),Anna Hazare (too old)

Ya ya, I know now you'll kill me by saying something like "Chirag, now would you suggest a few names."

and i will say...sorry IHM, none are worthy yet. We need someone who is educated, powerful, influential, secular, problem solver, visionary and great leader. Now can you think of anyone in India. I very hopelessly can't, I want to but I can't.

May be we need dictatorship, to understand the value of this freedom.

Anser Azim said...

I like the list but let the people decide and speak. Ours is a different kind of democracy with 400 million illiterates, more than the population of USA. And our democracy is based upon British system not the American way. Uniting the country is the biggest issue and governing India from Delhi is still difficult as was before Independence!!!

anser azim, chicago

Trailblazer said...


I'm afraid I disagree with the ones you mentioned as potential Obamas. Manmohan Singh is no "bringer of change" or at least has a wild party behind him to let him do anything.

Rahul Gandhi is there completely on the basis of dynasty and most of his speeches are very blank. He's a typical "nice guy", but nice guys don't change the world. They are there to be good to everyone. That's all.

APJ Abdul Kalam is a good bet. But he needs another lifetime to change India.

Omar Abdullah is too busy in the politics of his state to press for a pan-India approach and most of his loyalties are towards the resolution of the Kashmir issue only.

Priyanka Gandhi hasn't ever shown any kind of political will. Anna Hazare clearly doesn't seem cut out for high-voltage politics.

I don't know if you'll agree but an unbiased, secular, non-right wing, pro-Gandhian Narendra Modi would be an ideal Obama simply because of his enormous success rate as Gujarat CM. But yes, he's done enough wrong already.

I completely agree with the rest of the ones you disqualified.

wordjunkie said...

Interesting post.
Obama does remind me of Gandhi - not Bapu, however, but Rajiv - the young, gawky , clearly inexperienced person we so readily accepted as PM. Perhaps the last Indian PM to be so adored.
On the other hand let's not forget that Obama is not entirely a solo flier, but a carefully designed package,developed by a huge team of image consultants, speech writers etc over several years... every move, even the way his family is presented,is managed for media. With that kind of support, we'd probably learn to love even ..Raj Thackeray!

Jira said...

I am sohappy that you could come up with 6 potential good leaders!I thought that number would be 0!

Anonymous said...

Have you heard of this guy. Look him up on youtube and google. That will be a real Obama in India. It will be a great testament to democracy if he becomes a candidate for PM one day.

Anonymous said...

lol IHM,i just loved your lsit,and especiallt the associated attributes..If Modi hadn't been communal,i'ld ahve voted for him..APJ is my choice,but he is too good or too nice or spft spoken..In india,we have to deal with goondas :)

pls strike off Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi..I wonder why you even included Priyanka..what has she done..Rahul is just a brand name,,nothing more nothing less,an over hyped character..

I'll ponder over adding names to the lsit and will come back..

and uh,in politics,the more old and sick you are,the more qualified you weird...grrrrrrrrrrr

Kislay said...

It seems that Obama stands for kicking India's ass . Anyways , good luck zeroing in on India's Obama . First we need to find India , then we can start looking for its Obama .

Sagarone said...

I am sorry, IHM, but I think you and the others have it wrong. You don't need to find an Obamaesque personality to lead India. What we need to do is change the system so that it throws up Obamas instead of Lalus and Mayawatis into positions of power.

Indian Home Maker said...

Shilpa Sachin Pilot is good, but would you consider him as someone who unifies us? Maybe a group of young leaders can bring a much needed change in the system though. Yes we do need new ideas and younger leaders. Definitely.

Usha Pisharody Yes he is everybody's favorite :)) I have not seen him, but did sign the email petition for him :)I like the idea of his being 'the ONE mandatory advisor every PM should have ... :)'

Mandira Yes recently Manmoham Singh did show strength, on Nuclear Deal and in asking Maharashtra government to pull up its socks, also he is showing concern for the economy. He is the best amongst all these. And APJ.

Chirag I won't say, 'May be we need dictatorship, to understand the value of this freedom.' because that dictator would be one of these 'leaders' who you have so rightfully rejected. Let's keep our power & right to reject. What we need is an extra option to choose 'None of the above', when we vote. Maybe we should fight for that! I heard about this ... let me find out what exactly it is. You have given a good idea :)

Anser azim People do speak ... but think what will happen if all our leaders cater to the majority, which is made to feel like victims! That is the newest trend, finding excuses to bully the minorities in the name of religion, culture, language, caste etc.

trailblazer But A Narendra Modi would be a Narendra Modi if he was 'unbiased, secular, non-right wing, pro-Gandhian' ??!! How about Lalu? He too did great things for the Indian Railways, and is secular, non right wing, unbiased (err)?!

wordjunkie I am beginning to fear you are right! Great marketing :(
Agree with Rajeev Gandhi being comparable to Obama...but he didn't unify India?

jira No, no, they may not be potential good leaders, but they are not totally disqualify-able either.

vikramgarg One new name!!! Will go through the link and comment :)

nimmy Priyanka Gandhi is a link, another blogger's choice. I have not disqualified them, but they aren't my favorites either.

kislay Yes, I fear that too.!! Did you read the link in 'chinks in the armour'?

sagarone ... You are right, I just thought it was easier to find a person than change the system:(

Vikram said...

IHM, vikramvgarg = vikram, just used a different way to write my name + link :) .

Does it matter said...


Cynically speaking, the right comparison point would be Rahul Gandhi. I would picked Rajiv Gandhi (for the reasons already in my post!) but since he is no longer around..

Common points they share: Hype, Youth, Brand Packaging, Mass Appeal.

I think the question you raise in yr post is too premature and presumptive - you assume that Obama will succeed, have the right policies, will makes changes for the better. Maybe/ maybe not. All O has achieved till date is win an election. Period.

APJ is an achiever, he ran the nuclear program successfully, and he was a good/decent Prez. Comparing him to Obama is doing APJ a disservice. (For that matter, even Modi has achieved *something* - good governance, something Obama is yet to prove).

Comparing Rahul/ Priyanka/ Sachin Pilot/ Omar A. etc. is fine -- they are all in the same boat as Obama, they all are yet to prove anything..

Indian Home Maker said...

does it matter Obama has managed to unite a people and India also need someone who can successfully make all it's religions, castes, languages see that we are One Nation.
Secondly, I stressed on his magical speech, 'Even if he does nothing, his speech has managed to make people all over the world see that we all want the same things from our leaders! '

We need leader who can make that speech, that speech was a statement, we need leaders who have clean records, who talk of unity, of hard work, who set a good example.
In many ways Rahul Gandhi does fit the bill, he is polite, very dignified, I remember his Kalawati story in the Parliament, he had remained polite. Maybe he is the one, coming from a Dynasty is more forgivable than having got blood on your hands. Not a bad idea.
But I also want to google Kiren Rijiju, as Vikram has suggested above. He is a new name. Educated, no police record, no dynasty ... do take a look, would like to know what you think. His being from BJP makes me wonder if he is also a self proclaimed saviour of Hindutva ... I am rather vary of all such rift creators.

Does it matter said...

Ok. I hate to be the party pooper here, but is great speech making it? How about achievement & substance over style.

As I said earlier, do we even know who wrote the speech & whose ideas they were? Some Marketeer who did a complete profiling of the electorate and decided which plank would appeal the most, to the max people ?? - not impossible.

And the better orators in the country have been Advani & Modi. Only they have not done the unification part, unfortunately.

Speech is easy, action isnt. I think there is just too much hype over Obama, and I also think he is also taken his first steps to actually make one worry about his capabilities and true colours.

Would not mind being proven wrong, though.

Anonymous said...

I would add Jyotiraditya Scindia to that list. He studied at The Doon School went to Harvard and Stanford University and also worked as investment banker for Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley. Thats a good educational background. I have seen many of his interviews and he has lot of sense of direction and clarity of thought. Some will point out the dynasty bit here, but hey, isnt he so well educated and we would want such people to lead us, they would bring more thought and action to governance. He is quite a visionary btw.

Pinku said...

My answer IHM is US.

No one will come to lead us to glory or unity or peace or prosperity till we get down to it and do it ourselves.

All leaders including Obama have weaknesses.

Its only when the people are strong that strong leaders will come.

We need to be vigilant while voting and otherwise and we will be able to create a system that works and works unbiased.

A person I would recommend is Kiran Bedi. She doesnt wait for change she goes ahead and brings it in.

Z@ki-R said...

Such a pessimistic soul, I would first append the worst list
- VP Singh - successful in dividing the country on cast based politics.
- IP Gujral - Don't remember what he did as PM.
APJ, MMS are fine but can not we have younger and smarter leaders?
(though, I think, MMS is the best PM I've seen in my lifetime, but again he has qualition obligations, hence sometimes shows hesitations.).
Yes, I count on Rahul, Priyanka, Young Scindia, Deora, Omar Abdullah. Can I add Saurav for his agressive captaincy ( 'm not a cricket fan) though I doubt his universal acceptance.

Usha said...

There are quite a few young leaders in all the parties - if only the older people would be gracious enough to play the role of mentors and groom them, we could get quite a few obamas in this country.
One person I can think of and he isn't a politician - NarayanaMoorthy who can bring about a change because he is someone who knows that this isn't about himself but about the country.

1conoclast said...


I agree with the disqualified list totally.

On the qualifies list, I thought each of the young, educated, entrepreneurs would qualify but I don't see it happening. praful patel before stuffing his mouth with his foot, actually suggested that he thought of himself as a leader in Obama's league!!! Then we all know what happened!

Obama has the whole black hope thing going for him. There isn't that kind of an equivalent in India. We have a history of shoshit castes, but there's no deserving leader emerging from there. mayawati is too crass to count. And KR Narayanan has had his stint & wasn't celebrated. Blame our media again?

I think a leader has still to emerge though Priyanka may come close to mass appeal. Not on the same lines as Obama though.
And Omar has the sad stigma of being a Muslim & a Kashmiri one at that. His achievements don't count in the face of that. Sad state of educated India!!! Check out the so-called educated Indians who ran him down on


If Manmohan is weak, who was strong? Indira? You don't want Indira because she's too tough. You don't want Manmohan because he's apparently too soft! I think it's just a term a skunk called advani used for him. Can be ignored.

On Kalam, you may want to read this.

Will give you a little more reading if you're keen.


Sachin Pilot, Jo Scindia & Milind Deora all seem like young hopes. We must watch out for them. A First Among Equals in the making?

Short on time. Will continue this later.

Mampi said...

What touched me the most in your post, apart from the two lists, was the fact that we superannuate the real workers at 60, and go on feeding these parasites well beyond their productive phase. APJ is ageless, he is a phenomenon that our country witnessed, albeit in the capcity of a president who is supposed to be nothing more than a constitutional decoration. It is a pity that the parties did not have any consensus to give him second term. He was not even considered. Shame on us. We had our own better-than-obama stuff right in front of us and we ignored him to get some Baba-worshipping lady onto that office.

Mama - Mia said...

the ones you have disqualified are defi not it! that i am sure of!

who next... i really dunno. Manmohan Singh has been doing a fair job indeed. and APJ is an obvious fav though how much he will survive main stream politics, i dont know. but at least he has hope and vision!

and Obama is yet to prove himself too! :) hopefully he will be as good as it gets!



Ajit said...

I can add some names on the No-No list:
All members in parties which are regional aka Kurunanidhi, Jayalalita etc, and everyone from the CPIM as socialism is not the way to go for india.

1conoclast said...


MS is a Bharat Ratna. ;-)


So what's stopping raj thakre? :-)
And what's that about BS taking you to the top but not being enough to keep you there? I know it's too early to judge and he may turn out to be a big disappointment, yes. But let's give Obama some credit. Why do we always have to doubt that the words coming out of a man's mouth are not sincere.


Much as I hate to generalise, this guy doesn't quite fit my bill. Purely on account of him being on the wrong side. No siree... no bjp please, we're Indians! :-D


You're a favourite, but I have to differ on a couple of points:
-You may wanna read the link I presented above on Kalam.
-I don't hear you strike off Pilot, Deora & Scindia Jr.

Agree wth the fact that we need to look at why older leaders get to show us the way when they should be enjoying retirement in Chandigarh.


Well Said!


Rajiv's was a life cut unfortunately short. Maybe he would've succeeded in unifying India!

does it matter,

Yes, like Obama, they still have lots to prove. But what they also have in common is that they give us HOPE. Which the others don't. No?




IK Gujral. Was a nice guy. Had too short a stint.
:-) to everything else!


Murthy's a great idea, but unwilling like Hazare.


Link right above your comment please. I liked the guy too, but it seems that nobody's perfect. Some much less perfect than we imagined!



Priyanka said...

How about Chandra Babu Naidu?

Monika said...

brilliant post... have been wondering abt this myself... and frankly not been able to think abt anyone... i agree with someone on the comments that he does remind me of Rajiv gandhi... in the recent past he has been one of the best PM's we have got

and then let BO prove himself... though i am all over him right now

Vikram said...

Guys, many of us (including me) do not like the BJP's communal ways. But the BJP as a party are here to stay, because most of their appeal to their voters is not based on the Hindutva message. Not everything the BJP has done/is doing is bad, just like not everything Congress has done/is doing is good.

The BJP definitely needs to transform itself into a more inclusive party. May I add that for decades the Democrats (yes the ones who gave Obama the ticket) were opposed (often violently) to equal rights for blacks !

The fact that the BJP made an Arunachali one of their general secretaries tells us something. And clearly this guy is working hard for his constituents, which is the first sign of competence. I think Rijiju can lead to a transformation of the BJP, but they have to first be ready to give him more of a platform first.

Charakan said...

Obama proved that he is a good orator.Let Obama prove his credentials as a ruler in 4 years.Then only this question have any relevance.
Who can save India? As Pinku said no saviour will come.We will get the leader we deserve.So use your vote very carefully.
I agree with 1conoclast.APJ was a rubber stamp and a showman. Narayanan was our best President.

Jira said...

Isn't that the same thing ? :) They have the potential (thats' why they are not disqualifiable)! Maybe they need to become more efficient to actually make good leaders.

Charakan said...

All these Obama mania made me start another blog. opinions welcome

my space said...

IHM..Brilliant..hmm as for my list of candidates can`t really pinpoint one..sad na? APJ rocks! and why not some one like Ratan Tata or Narayan Murthy?
BTW read this ..

Did you know that there is a system in our constitution, as per the 1969 act, in section "49-O" that a person can go to the polling booth,confirm his identity, get his finger marked and convey the presiding election officer that he doesn't want to vote anyone!

Yes such a feature is available, but obviously these seemingly notorious leaders have never disclosed it. This is called "49-O".

Why should you go and say "I VOTE NOBODY"... because, in a ward, if a candidate wins, say by 123 votes, and that particular ward has received"49-O" votes more than 123, then that polling will be cancelled and will have to be re-polled. Not only that, but the candidature of the contestants will be removed and they cannot contest the re-polling, since people had already expressed their decision on them. This would bring fear into parties and hence look for genuine candidates for their parties for election. This would change the way, of our whole political system... it is seemingly surprising why the election commission has not revealed such a feature to the public....

sunder said...

I think you are giving credit to Obama, like most of them too soon..

Lets see how he performs...thanks to USA credit crunch, it was more easier for him to come to power...

We need a powerful leader in their own right...

Amrutha said...

Hey! Tagged you for a personal take on feminism. Would love to hear from you. :-) Especially on the stay-at-home mom bit.

Just call me 'A' said...

hmmm i think the list is old and outdated...i think what india needs is a new face. someone fresh yet matured. now don't ask me who. if i knew that would have been the first thing up. but it's time the system change too. but then again who will bell teh cat?

Just call me 'A' said...

and i also think that we don't feel the exhilaration that the americans feel for their presidents is because we are not involved in our system and we don't have faith in the people that represent that system.

Homecooked said...

I love Rahul Gandhi so probably I am not very objective about this choice :)

Seriously though.... I like Abdul Kalam. He presents a very calm and dignified manner,is well educated and soft spoken. I think he probably can do wonders for the nation.

I think Flavia Agnes is a good choice for anything related to women upliftment.Shabana Azmi too for that matter.

Anrosh said...

if every village in india has one anna hazare he will turn around the village. every unsustainable town and village need his kind of leadership. he is definitely good at customizing, inducing people's participation, governance, in a village/ - isn't there a proverb - drop by drop.

Iya said...

hey..have blog rolled you!!!
I think Kalam can be a fair choice. He is educated, with times, and objective..sad that he was given a post where he couldnt have done much...

Usha Pisharody said...

Thanks for tagging me.. :) Now you'll have to tell this greenhorn what exactly to do please.. :) Glad to see that the search continues here.. :)

Monika,Ansh said...

I completely agree with the last line. We've had leaders too old to carry the burden & have thus failed to inspire.
At present I think we need a fresh perspective. I do not see anyone out there who would inspire me like Obama.

Ajith said...

Abdul Kalam is the only one I can pick from the list for the obvious reason he has no personal ambitions and has genuine interest in the development of the country.

BTW, One person cant change India's face, it should be a collective effort. Unfortunately the way party tickets have been sold off, it is difficult in the near future.

Obama is gud in speeches, meticulous in his approach and he had clear cut strategies. But I am afraid comparing him to Gandhi at this stage is not right. Gandhi stood against the mighty British to give freedom for the people of our country. He wasn't aiming at India's PM chair. There is a considerable difference between a selfless sacrifice and war for power!

Ranu said...

I agree with Vikram - BJP needs to transform and become more inclusive. But as a non partisan person, I find all of this secularism talk with focus on one single minority on part of the Congress no more than a communalist power grab in disguise. The post hindutva BJP is just venemously overt in their evil designs. It was Indira Gandhi who created Bhindarwala to foster the sikh divide for power grab in Punjab in the seventies, just as Deshmukh under Sonia Gandhi has let Raj Thackerey run amock to foster the Maharashtrian-North Indian divide.

May be India needs a third alternative, non communal, non caste, and not a personal fiefdom of one family - which allows for leadership to emerge on the basis of skills and abilities instead of sychophancy and servility.