Barack Obama — it seems he’s India’s choice too

November 5, 2008

It’s not hard to see why Indians would be interested in an election thousands of miles away. Many see Barack Obama’s victory in the presidential poll as a sign that America has finally transcended the question of race and changed the course of history.

Obama may have won by a landslide in the U.S. but going by the number of Indians rooting for him at New Delhi’s American Center on Wednesday, it seemed a useless exercise to gauge his support base in India.

I was hard-pressed to find a John McCain supporter among the many students and guests thronging the lawns of the Center as election results trickled in.

The McCain-Palin pavilion and a Republican elephant made of plastic balls stood forlorn as people posed for pictures with cutouts of Obama and Democrat running-mate Biden in a courtyard festooned with red, blue and white balloons.

When the umpteenth American citizen told me she had voted for Obama, I just shrugged my shoulders in despair. Did no one vote for McCain?

“Go to the Embassy and you might find one,” she quipped. “I don’t know if they will admit it any more though.”

Given Obama’s campaign promise of ending tax breaks for companies that ship U.S. jobs overseas and reducing the number of H1B visas issued to foreign workers, I would have thought McCain would be the obvious choice at least for Indians.

I was wrong.

“Obama’s not against India. He’s only going against outsourcing,” said Sharad Chandra, founder of the Society for Human Values and Universal Responsibility.

“And there’s nothing wrong with stopping outsourcing,” she said, adding that working in the BPO industry had made Indian youth unfit for any other profession.

Obama’s personality seemed to be the more relevant criterion among youngsters.

“He’s young and dynamic,” said college student Stuti Jain, one of many to cast votes in a mock election organized at the Center.

“The elections won’t make much of a difference in India but it’s exciting to be here and vote.”

For some, it was Obama’s stance on the war in Iraq that won them over.

Aditi Juneja, 17, recalled her experience of meeting families of American soldiers in Iraq during a trip to the U.S. — the idea of them suffering for no reason “didn’t seem right”.

“Obama will stop the war in Iraq,” she said.

And there was no doubt over who 48-year-old Surat Singh voted for. The Supreme Court lawyer said he met Obama while studying at Harvard in the late 1980s.

“He was big on human rights even then,” Singh said, adding that the Harvard alumni association in India planned to celebrate Obama’s win.

“I always knew he would play a great role in the future but never imagined he would become American president.”

And in case you were wondering who won the mock elections at the Center — the final tally read 357-22 in favour of Obama.

I voted for him too.

12 comments

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Our heartiest Congrats and our Best wishes for the New Responsibility ,dear Obama

Posted by ss | Report as abusive

Change has to happen. We are studying many theories and assumptions which were mere experiments of the history.

We in the present. The change has happened, because the new leader for tommorow has the theories of history brought into practise.

We are prooud to share this changing experience.

Posted by S Veetil | Report as abusive

[...] mock election center was set up Tuesday in Delhi. Hundreds of Indian citizens showed up at the “poll” to [...]

I’m an American living in California. It appears the article is not accurate. Actually, about half of all voting Americans voted for McCain. It was a very close popular vote, with Obama edging out McCain. There are millions of dissapointed Americans that are concerned about the socialist leanings of Obama. Even though there is much concern, I congratulate him.

Posted by Wade Herrick | Report as abusive

i really wonder the indians supporting mr. obama in spite of knowing the fact that he is goin to stop the outsourcing in US. as it is the jobseekers are having tough time in india to find a job n pay bak the education loan. its gd tht mr obama has created history in the US but we just cant overlook his future course of actions on the ground tht he is the 1st black man to b the president of US.

ok fine we congrates to obama to elect the US president.

i don’t know why every body thinking he is going to stop the outsourcing

I think the main reason for Obama’s success is his charismatic personality and rhetorical speeches. Also, his agenda clearly goes in favor of common man(u.s). He will and he should do what is best for their country; Compared to creating more jobs in country he won’t care about BPO people getting jobless in India.
The reason for his huge fan club in India is because “An american is doing things for america; what an Indian would do for India”

Posted by Sandeep Giradkar | Report as abusive

Congrats to Barack! best wishes from the youth of North East India- specially Garo Hills of Meghalaya. He is an inspiration to the youth of the world. A new World Order where the young have a say in world issues have finally come to stay. Hip! ip! Hurray!

Posted by cosmos sangma | Report as abusive

Congrats to Barack! Finally- It has happened. Never in our wildest dreams did we expect America to overcome the racial divide. Wednesday’s victory is not just Obama’s but that of the American people. They have shown the way to the rest of the world that Chance can indeed take place in the most unexpected quarters.
He (Obama) has given a new meaning to the word “Youth Power”. At last, the young generation can finally be involved in the decision making process.
We in the north Eastern part of India- specially Garo Hills in Meghalaya- are overwhelmed with the US results. Great going and All the Best to Barack Obama.

Posted by cosmos sangma | Report as abusive

Dear Friends,
India is not the USA.
In India the politics have become totally castist.
Seat allocation is based on caste, religion, region.

Wow! Obama
CHANGE is permanent

If India really likes Obama many of us would gladly trade him for a cup of curry. It is not the racial divide regardless what the talking heads tell you-it is political. Read the man’s book “DREAMS FROM MY FATHER:A Story of Race and Inheritance”. The issue IS political and only fools think we will even try to rise above THAT.

Now the time for the Second American Revolution.

That every man be armed.
America First
America Alone
Americans Come Home

Posted by RobertG | Report as abusive

Hello:
In the U.S we have a major news network called Fox News Rupert Murdoch, and run by a republican strategist named Roger Ailes. This rag is an insult to the notion of a Free Press, not only is it bias. It actually fabricates news stories(such as Hillary murdering Vince Foster) this is the only reason anyone thinks Obama is a Socialist. All so please note Americans do not really understand the difference between Soviet style socialism and European Social Democratic parties. For many here in the U.S, Socialism = Communism
and Communism = take over of the world by the Devil (or some supernatural evil entity). This is a joke but also true in many several U.S state.