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Legacy of a Civilized Spirit – The New Indian Express

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Barack Obama’s autobiography gained attention in India because of his remark on Rahul Gandhi and “the nervous and informed quality of him.” In the process, the sheer grandeur of the book, “A Promised Land,” escaped attention. In fact, the Obama opus is a classic, in the range it covers, in its analytical depth, and in the literary quality it displays on every page.

Among other things, Obama is a writer. In other words, a writer to whom the writing comes. He has something to say and he says it with ease, confidence and with the finesse of a man for whom writing is a vocation. See how Russian ruler Putin is put in one sentence: “Physically he was unremarkable: short and compact – the size of a wrestler – with fine, sandy hair, a prominent nose and pale, attentive eyes. The reference to India is more complete than Rahul Gandhi’s description suggests.

After engaging with India at different levels and for quite a long time, Obama examines how modern India has scored as a success story, but does not hesitate to mention the “bitter bickering within political parties, various separatist movements. armed and all kinds of corruption scandals. “. Interestingly, in a book published in 2020 and with long segments on India and Indian rulers like Manmohan Singh, there isn’t even a fleeting reference to Narendra Modi and what he meant. for India.

Modi is not even an index item as Manmohan is featured on multiple pages. It may be that Narendra Modi is seen as an entirely domestic phenomenon and maybe the world is expecting India to rediscover its universalist soul after the eclipse. One thing is clear: history has given India an inspiring role in international relations; Gandhi-Nehru’s impact on the world was substantial. India’s current shift to a smaller religious entity is not yet seen by the world as something to replace the country’s recognized heritage. In other words, the world sees India as bigger than Narendra Modi and what he hopes to impose. Obama is full of praise for Manmohan Singh.

“Like me, he had come to believe that was all we could expect from democracy, especially in large multi-ethnic and multi-religious societies like India and the United States. Then he focuses on the particular problem of India and asks “whether these impulses – of violence, greed, corruption, nationalism, racism and religious intolerance, the all too human desire to push back our own uncertainty and mortality and sense of insignificance in subordinating others – were too strong for a democracy to permanently contain them.

There was a warning against “a charismatic leader [who] chose to ride the wave of people’s fears and resentments. Manmohan Singh was the architect of India’s emergence as a market economy, although it was PV Narasimha Rao who commissioned him to do so. Obama gave Manmohan Singh the credit he was due. He described Singh not only as a man of “unusual wisdom and decency,” but also as “a self-effacing technocrat who had won people’s trust not by appealing to their passions, but by raising the standard of living. and maintaining a well-deserved reputation for not being corrupted. “

Obama did not fail to record the intricacies of Sonia Gandhi’s policy. She supported Manmohan Singh, he said, “because as an elderly Sikh with no national political base, he posed no threat to his 40-year-old son Rahul. Sonia’s power, he said, “was due to a shrewd and energetic intelligence”. His summary of India should give us pause. “Despite its genuine economic progress,” he says, “India has remained a chaotic and impoverished place, widely divided by religion and caste, captive to the whims of corrupt local officials and power brokers, crippled by a bureaucracy. church that was resistant to change. “

The candor and analytical brilliance make Obama’s view of the world relevant to everyone. It is a treatise on democracy, how it should be won and how it can be lost. He writes by hand; not on a computer because “a computer gives too soft a shine even to my roughest drafts and gives half-cooked thoughts the mark of cleanliness.” Using pen and paper, he gives his thoughts a chance to mature into thoughtful ideas. What we end up with is an inspiring Obama whose simplicity stands out as his most appealing quality. Obama has not only enriched American history. Every culture in the world, every nation has gained from its thoughts, its actions, its civilized spirit.

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