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Why the 'aam aadmi' loved Michelle Obama

Last updated on: November 12, 2010 15:54 IST

Why the 'aam aadmi' loved Michelle Obama

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The down-to-earth First Lady won thousands of new friends for the US during her three-day India visit, believes B Raman

India has had six Presidential visits from the United States -- by Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George Bush and now Barack Obama.

There have been many instances of visiting heads of state or government from other countries being accompanied by their first ladies.

The visit of United States First Lady Michelle Obama stood apart from all other visits of first ladies in the past.

This was not only because of her grace and natural charm. The other first ladies were also gracious and charming.


Image: First Lady Michelle Obama during a visit to Holy Name School in Mumbai.
Photographs: Reuters
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Michelle mingled with the common man. And woman

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The way Michelle won the heart of India, no other first lady has managed to do in the past.

The other first ladies restricted themselves to mingling with India's social elite -- ex-maharajas, ex-maharanis, Bollywood actors, fashion-designers etc.

Jacqueline Kennedy was seen mostly in the company of the ex-maharani of Jaipur and other ex-princes of Rajasthan.

Michelle mingled with the Aam Aadmi -- the common man. And woman.

She did mingle with the political and social elite at the two formal banquets hosted for her husband.


Image: Michelle and Barack Obama with kids at Humayun's Tomb in New Delhi
Photographs: Reuters
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She won thousands of new friends for the US

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The rest of the time -- whether in Mumbai or in Delhi -- she was mostly in the company of the people of India -- children and adults.

A totally captivated country watched her chatting, joking, singing and dancing with India's Aam Aadmi. Very naturally.

Those were not put up or orchestrated shows for photo opportunities. What one saw was her natural joy and exuberance in the company of Indians.

She won thousands of new friends for the US -- among the older as well as the newer generation.


Image: Michelle dances with school kids in Mumbai
Photographs: Reuters
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She became the toast of the 'Aam Aadmi'

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Her contribution to the success of the President's visit was immense.

Whereas her husband was the toast of the Indian elite, she became the toast of the Aam Aadmi.

It is a pity the President and Michelle came to India after the mid-term elections to the US Congress were over.

If they had come during the election campaign, the people-friendly images of Michelle beamed to the US might have won some extra seats for the Democrats in the elections.


Image: Michelle with kids at the crafts village in New Delhi
Photographs: Reuters
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