23 January 2009

Obama, Vajpayee, Leadership

Barack Hussein Obama never ceases to amaze me. Just when I think I have seen the best of him, he goes one better. In the last two years I have read almost every major speech of his. Each time I have felt the same admiration and respect. His inaugural address on January 20th was a classic. The speech was vintage Obama – the breadth of vision, the deep understanding of his country's history and traditions, the lofty ideals, the clear spelling out of today's challenges, and the inspiring call to his countrymen to face them bravely. This was a true leader talking to his people.

As I read the speech I felt happy for America, and a little sad for my own country. I couldn't help wondering: When was the last time an Indian politician spoke like this? In the Indian context I have heard such noble ideas and sentiments being expressed only in the lectures (bouddhiks) given by senior RSS leaders. Has even a single Indian politician given a single speech like this? The only example I can think of is Atal Behari Vajpayee's 'Musings from Kumarakom' in 2001. It was not a speech but an article (part one and part two). And though it did not have Obama's soaring rhetoric, it was inspiring in its own way.

1 comment:

guyfromblore said...

I was very skeptical about how his inauguration speech was going to be. Anyway, I was on my way to work when I tuned into his speech and I listened to the last 10 minutes or so and it actually was inspiring.

Now, if this guy can achieve even 10% of what he talked about, I think that should do a lot of good for this place (and the world).

btw, not sure if you knew about it, but the guy writes most of his speeches himself.