Tag Archives: Obama

Hu said ‘What’ and who interpreted ‘What’?

Hu Jintao visit to the USA has all the makings of a media spectacle.

With leaders of the two ‘competing and dependent’ economic giants of world who barely share anything apart from economic interests meet in the most cordial manner, lot is on offering for media houses at large not just in the US or China.

Browsing through reports in the New York Times, the Guardian, BBC, CCTV and The Times of India, it was interesting to observe how differently they all approached the visit and reported.

The host scribes set their eyes on the deals and sales on offer and how the Obama leadership has rolled out red carpet and given the best welcome to the Chinese president.

The focus was the deals worth $ 19 billion and oer 1,00,000 jobs in store for the US and development of the ties between two nations. There was mention of noble laureate Liu Xiaobo, but it was business first.

This reminded me about the over the board euphoria shown by Indian media when Obama last visited in September 2010.

The British media focused on Human Rights, and the BBC and the Guardian harped on their concerns about what Hu said about human rights.  Hu saying China still needed to do “a lot” over human rights was a sentiment that echoed across in stories at the BBC and Guardian.

The Guardian in one of the reports described how Obama administration recognised the meeting as meetings of equals unlike how Bush administration gave Hu a White house working lunch.

Chinese media did what it is perceived to do best, dish out information fed to it by the regimen.

As BBC’s Damian Grammaticas mentions : “Just hearing a Chinese president deal with direct questions on human rights is incredibly rare. In China the heavily state-controlled media doesn’t pose them”

The CCTV and others as the Guardian points out underplayed human rights remarks. A visit to their website reaffirms the same.

Amidst all this how can Indian scribes be far behind, a headline in The Times of India read  ‘Hu-pla around Chinese President’s visit centers on American debt’ pun intended it gave away what can be broadly considered as playing away on average Indian sentiment when it comes to doing anything with China. Add to this the copy highlighted human rights issue and how Hu and Dalai lama were both treated by the White house.

Amidst all this frenzy over the visit for me what is interesting to see is that how the tines of both parties are changing US recognising the rise of China and the red dragon too gets to face the world and get a reality check on how world looks at them.

That apart it showed how a same visit can be portrayed to the world in so many different ways.


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West reaches out to East

Western bigwigs reach out to rising Easterners.

A day after US President Barack Obama left India, premier of UK landed in neighbouring China.

Some sort of timing.

Other than timing there were a few more similarities.

Obama landed in Mumbai, India’s financial capital ahead of the national capital. He addressed the business leaders of India Inc.  The president took home exports of USD 10 billion for majors like Boeing, General motors in addition to the 50,000 jobs.

He preached win-win formula, but in the near future its double wins US. Never mind our time shall come with the United Nations Security Council pitch.

While striking the deals the impeccable orator never uttered the P(Pakistan) word, something that majority of Indians would have loved to hear. (we) Mind (y)our business was the unsaid message.

Cut to Mr. Cameron’s visit. He kick-starts with Tescos in Beijing, ahead of the state guard of honour. Well the company wants to open up more stores in China than it has in entire UK(as per BBC report).

Attends bilateral business deals being signed and raises a toast to the growing trade as artistes and human rights activist urge him to raise his voice for the acquittal of Nobel peace prize winner Liu Xiaobo.

Cameron so far maintains that aim is to strengthen the trade ties for UK companies in order to create jobs back home and boost the economy.

“We have an important relationship with China and want the trade to grow,” he told the BBC. He did touch upon the issue of Human rights but in the customary address, no special thrust, just like Obama’s speech included Pakistan.

The picture this paints to me is that with a booming economy and over billion people each both these Asian countries promise a thriving future market for West. The deal is to come out of the economic crisis and East certainly is the agent of change.


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Answer ‘P’lease, Mr. President

The Obama’s are having a field day in India.

Days before the Air Force One landed in Mumbai, there’s been a hysterical run up to the president’s first visit to India.

Broadcasters and Newspapers have been flooding the news space with milieu and menus for the US first couple.

From Barack’s body language to his Beast (the automobile that drives the US president) nothing was left to imagination.

Everything was being dished outs seemingly like a meticulously executed PR plan. Till this happened.

At St. Xaviers College, Mumbai, where the President interacted with Generation Next who were asked by his better half to pose tough question at him, the young minds didn’t disappoint.

A bunch of students managed to ask the president what hordes of scribes couldn’t.

They raised the so far forbidden ‘J (Jihad)’ n ’P’(Pakistan) words much to the delight of scribes out there bound by president’s press agenda and protocol.

One of the best orators in the business Obama found himself in not so preferred situation as one of the student Afsheen Irania asked, “Why is Pakistan not being called a terrorist state by the US?”

After a pause Obama said, “Let me tell you I was expecting this question.” (But to me it seemed a way to get away and engage the crowd which went into silence the question was asked. Given his skills and stature he managed to ‘beat around the bush’ as Irania told NDTV later.

But it will be harsh to just tie him down on this question; he was walking the tight rope.

Questions apart after acting as the Chief Sales Officer(CSO) for the United States of America on day one of his India visit, President Barack Obama had Generation Next of Mumbaikars eating out of his hands.

If the uproar that greeted Obama at the St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai was something to go by, it showed his immense popularity among young Indians.

There were quite a few things that the Indian politicos can pick from the president. Not only the way he gets crowds engaged and cares to ask them about their ambitions, aspirations and fears (some things that most back home give a miss) but he also told them it’s my people first.

Having referred him as CSO earlier he ensured that on day one while he proposed a win-win formula, it was more of a win America situation.

Deals worth USD 10 billion and 50,000 jobs being created in the USA made headlines.

Nothing of what India gains out of this was evident or discussed. While most business honchos I get a feeling were awed by the experience of being in the room with one of the most powerful man on the planet, no questions were raised.

The big futuristic plans were applauded, but for the outspoken chairman of the Bajaj group, Rahul Bajaj, who told NDTV, “It doesn’t look like win-win. Its deals from India, money goes from us to them. What about our win? I hope in days ahead our prime minister too shows similar resolve and put our case strongly enough.”

Having watched the frenzy unfold and symbolic gestures being over hyped I haven’t seen something that makes the common man feel benefitted.

As I conclude this piece the much expected formal announcement by Indian Prime Minister and Obama on Monday is coming up.

India will be looking up to the premier to stand tall and hold the flag flying high.


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There’s a lot in surname, sir.

Can’t find the word for this expression its somewhere between surprise and shock.

No particular reasons for penning this down, but the feeling is creeping in and has to let it out. I have read the piece a couple of times and still can’t come over it. That official from US security forces have landed in India ahead of President Obama’s visit and along with the special guards came  ‘MWD Khan.’

Well if you guessed that this could be one of the high flying official or top secret agent, then you are on a wrong track for it’s a sniffer dog.

Naming a dog ‘Khan’ and having it inscribed on the canine’s passport! That is ridiculous. For whatever be the logic behind this one, for me is an insult of a belief and someone’s identity.

I am no believer of Islam that I felt ridiculed, but for me all faiths and beliefs are equal and deserve due respect. For heavens can anyone explain me the logic behind such a name being given to the canine?

What if the animal was given a surname which matched that of any official whose team takes services of the dog? Won’t those who call it Khan now have felt ridiculed? What if the animal was named MWD XYZ, one of the popular surnames in the west? Would people in the forces still accept it?

Can’t imaging the horror or humiliation if the canine was called to sniff the luggage of someone with similar surname. Won’t the person feel offended?

Also wonder why the reports putting this news across haven’t raised the point? There’s a limit to sucking up.  It’s even more ridiculous that the news finds its place at spot no. 9 on a national broadcasters website’s top stories section at 11.45 BST.

The presentation of story is equally pathetic. The report not only shows immaturity on the part of media, it also brings forth the hollow claims of equality made by the US of A that Muslims are being treated equally by them


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Obama mania

Atithi Devo Bhava( Guests are like God), but  Athiti Dev naahi( Guests are not God).

The first one is an age old adage, which the tourism department uses these days most often, whereas second is a piece of creativity (rather the lack of it).

Well  one of most influential figures (and I call one of intentionally) in the world, president of the United States of America, Barack Obama is all set to visit India.

Welcome sir, be our guest.

Going by the build-up of the visit it seems that media houses, business houses and politicos have forgotten the first of the above mentioned adage and towed on to the one that doesn’t exist.

Power houses in national politics cite (as claimed by the prime time anchors of national broadcasters)one of the reasons that Maharastra Chief Minister wasn’t sacked despite being involved in housing scam is because the ‘Change’ leader of 21st century is coming so we can’t change our CM.  Change of guard brings a bad name, is what the word is being floated around political circles.

Bad name? Wonder if Obama by weirdest stretch of imagination knows who the hell is Maharastra CM and what difference does it make if it is some other Marathi Manoos instead of Ashok Chavan. If it doesn’t matter to Obama, I wonder if it ever mattered to average Maharastrian who their CM is? So why not change, given a chance.

Politics aside, I was taken aback by a report in The Times of India that Tata Group Chairman, Ratan Tata will host Obama at the Taj Mhahal hotel Mumbai, “the site of 26/11 terror attack,” and show him around. Well wonder if our news channels left anything unseen for anyone, leave aside Obama. The ‘Live’ coverage of attacks and the comments flowing already showed to the world what the site was like and later some lifestyle channels have shown the reconstructed hotel more times than the time taken to put the place back in shape.

To me this looks like a pathetic PR exercise, something uncalled for. Obama will visit the attack site and meet some survivors. Well if my memory doesn’t let me down there were other hotels too which were attacked, but they don’t get chance to show Obama around or at least don’t get coverage like the stalwart Ratan Tata. Later Taj will host Obama where he will meet the likes of Mukesh Ambans and Azeem Premji. Wonder how Premji will greet the guy set to destroy his shop( Outsoursing business, if you recall say no to b’lore and yes to Bufallo)

While all this is being done, the fourth pillar of democracy (media) is being painted by colourful features on where will Obama stay, whom will he meet, what will he eat, will his beast (the most secure limo on planet) move on our Indian roads,  I would say will the beast survive the monster of Indian roads which are being patched up.

Media has gone berserk with Obama visit, they covering everything about it in detail, except the agenda of course. There are dedicated sections like ‘Obama visit’ links on websites , photogalleries, debates on what will he eat where will he go and all, but very few space to issues over the hands.
Which reminds when will he get to discuss the issues and with whom, November 6(Day 1) statement at Taj on 26/11,(followed by guided tour by Ratan tata), visit to Gandhi Museum, back to Taj for A meet the top brass of business hosted by RT.

Day 2 Diwali celebration with some students, talks on how much US loves India (Only in papers it seems) and some talk on agriculture. Off to Delhi. Visit Humayun’s tomb and dinner with the Prime minister.

Day 3: Gandhi ji again at Rajghat, joint statement with PM, (from dinner table to Press conference), Meet Madam( Sonia Gandhi) , then address the poor MP’s( bet half of them won’t get what he utters). Poor MP from Pali and many like him can’;t understand what MMS speaks , Obama stands no chance.

After lots of talking, meet President before flying off to Jakarta next morning.

With loads of socialising to do, wonder when will time will come for serious questions like threat to outsourcing, immigration rules, lack of coordination on passing intelligence information, US support n aid to Pakistan, etc will come and be discussed.

This looks like Obama’s happy Diwali outing, kind of meet the PM visit.

Time we wake up as a country and stop sucking up to the likes of these guys.
When a leader comes calling, treat him/her, greet them , but for heavens don’t suk up to them.

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