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Obama gives 'hope' to India's weaker sections

Mohammed Siddique in Hyderabad | January 21, 2009 23:51 IST

The Inauguration of Barak Obama [Images], the first black president in the history of the United States, has buoyed the weaker and oppressed section of society in the far off corners of the world and India was no exception.

Coverage: Celebrating Obama

A gathering of Dalits -- intellectuals, government officials, students, activists and the commoners -- came together to not only watch and celebrate the enthronement of 47year old Barak Obama but also to find some thing deeper in it and draw a lesson and get inspiration from it.

"This is undoubtedly a turning point in the history", hailed intellectual and author Prof Kancha Ilaiah of Osmania University, who was among the notables to attend the gathering where the US consul general in Hyderabad Kornellis M Keur was the chief guest.

"There is a clear message in this for all of us," said P Indravathy, who was among the Dalit youth who were gifted Barak Obama's book Audacity of Hope by the consul general to mark the occasion

"If you work hard and persevere, there is no force which can hold you back. Obama has proved it by over coming all the odds including racism," she said.

The evening was organized by a host of Dalit organizations who saw the occasion an opportunity to put new spirit in their own ranks. Recognizing the special relevance and significance of a once-untouchable black taking the reigns of power of the only global super power and its symbolic significance for Indian polity,  they brought together the members of the weaker sections to see a historic drama unfolding on the steps of Capitol Hill, thousands of miles away.

"This proves that no racism, no casteism can stop any body from achieving the ultimate goal. Any thing can be possible by positive thinking and hard work. Racism could not stop Obama from becoming the president," said Srinivas, a B Tech graduate.

"Obama has inspired me immensely as he has achieved this success against all odds," said Mohan Rao, who is preparing for the civil services examination.

"He has succeeded against all odds and became the leader of not only the US but the entire world".

Purnaiah, another youth said, "Obama, like me, has come from a downtrodden section and proved that in today's society even the members of the weaker sections can reach the highest position. He has inspired me to try and achieve my goal of becoming an officer."

But the one question, which was echoing in every heart an the mind was whether the weak in India will also get the same opportunity as the United States and its people gave to one of its own.

Kancha Ilaiah said that it will be possible in India only if the present caste-dominated democracy turns in to a true and complete one. "The world has seen it not as an inauguration of a president but a coronation of a black. First time a slave child has got coroneted. There will be a huge impact on the whole world, especially on Africa, Asia and Muslim world," he said.

Naresh Penumaka, an Indian Revenue Officer and one of the hosts of the evening, said that there was a parallel between Obama and the weaker sections of India. "Dalits and tribal in India are the most poor and like them Obama has also come up in life a hard way. He represents aboriginal community, African American community in the USA and being the first African to take over as the president of the USA, we are very proud. We got inspired that we can also try to emulate him", he said.

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