Tales from the Trail

Obama remembers Gandhi, and King, in Mumbai

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U.S. President Barack Obama spent part of his first day in India visiting a museum dedicated to the memory of one of his heroes, Indian independence leader Mahatma Gandhi, and walking in the footsteps of another, U.S. civil rights leader Martin Luther King, as he did so.

Obama and first lady Michelle Obama visited the Gandhi Museum in Mumbai on Saturday afternoon, located in a home where Gandhi stayed during his nonviolent campaign for India’s independence from the British.

The two Obamas were given a tour of the museum, stopping in the library in front of a bronze relief of Gandhi’s face to sign a guest book.

Obama wrote, “I am filled with hope and inspiration as I have the privilege to visit this testament to Gandhi. He is a hero not just to India, but to the world.” Mrs. Obama wrote: “This visit will be one that I will always remember. …” before signing it.

As he stopped to sign, Obama took note of another signature, from 1959, in another guest book. It was signed by King, who visited India in 1959, 11 years after Gandhi was slain, to draw lessons from the Indian leader’s nonviolent struggle to end 200 years of British rule.

Golden Temple off Obama’s India agenda, Gandhi on

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U.S. President Barack Obama will not visit the Golden Temple in Amritsar during his trip to India next month, the White House confirmed on Wednesday

But he will make several other cultural stops, including two related to the revered Indian independence leader Mahatma Gandhi, who is a hero to many African-Americans and was an inspiration to the U.S. civil rights leader Martin Luther King.

Obama is visiting the Gandhi Museum in Mumbai and will also lay a wreath on Gandhi’s grave in New Delhi during his visit.

So what does Obama do for an encore?

Maybe he does walk on water…

President Barack Obama, having barely cut his teeth in office after nine months, has joined the rarified club of Nobel Laureates that includes the likes of  Mother Teresa and Martin Luther King Jr. Even Gandhi, despite being nominated five times, never made the list. NOBEL-PEACE/OBAMA

As with anyone who reaches the impossible dream early on, the question is: what next? He’s 48 years old, has more than three years left at the White House, how does he top this?

Obama said he was as surprised as anyone.

“Let me be clear, I do not view it as a recognition of my own accomplishments, but rather as an affirmation of American leadership on behalf of aspirations held by people in all nations,” he said in the White House Rose Garden.