June 08, 2009

Does India Need an Obama?

There was an interesting debate/discussion on TV a month or two ago on the subject of whether India needed an Obama ...
I realized some time later as I was thinking about the topic that India has had a few leaders in its recent history who have been Obama-like in many ways ...
Who would dispute the fact that Nehru was an ideal kind of leader — someone who combined democratic thinking with a rational/scientific spirit and great intellect/intelligence.
Nehru was a great writer and a good orator as well ...
So, do we need an Obama? Well, one could rephrase that and say: Do we need a Nehru for the 21st century?
And the answer to that would certainly be 'Yes.'
Nehru was probably more 'progressive' in his thoughts and beliefs and actions than most Indians living today.
Nehru was famously an 'agnostic' — perhaps that was more of a nod to the age and the country that he lived in ... if he didn't have to make allowances for the fact that he was a public person in a backward country like India in the middle of the 20th century, he would probably have declared himself to be an atheist ... may be, that's just me daydreaming.
There haven't been many others like him in India, unfortunately ... people would point to Subhash Bose and Sardar Patel who had particular areas of brilliance but not the kind of broad sweep that Nehru had ...

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