This is the second of my whimsical, or not so whimsical, posts that have an oblique reference to Barack Obama.
He was here in India for our Republic Day celebrations on the 26th January. Delhi was turned into a virtual fortress. An entire luxury hotel was blocked for him. On the Republic Day, there was a 400 km no fly zone around Delhi, which meant that airports in neighbouring towns were closed. The day he arrived, they closed the International Airport in Delhi for 12 hours or so.
He brought his own car – The Beast – and fuel. The dogs, which have officer ranks in the US Army, were flown in. The US Security behaved in an obnoxious and bullying manner with the Indian security.
A lot of money was spent to protect the man who sat and chewed gum through the ceremony.
There is always a terrorist threat on Republic Day. The joke that went around is that our Prime Minister, stingy chap that he is, did not want to sped Indian money on security this year (it was all spent on his 17,000 USD suit), so he invited Obama to India.
When Obama left, we all heaved a sigh of relief. There would have been chaos if something had happened to him.
However, important that it may be, to provide security to important people, I still feel that we need to provide the same to the ordinary folks on the street.
By this, I mean you and me.
Despite Obama’s visit, incidents of murder and rape continue unabated. I wonder if we Indians are becoming hardened to this.
In 1857, when the British went on a genocidal spree in India, murder must have seemed like a game to them. To rapists, this is the same. To those who read of it, I wonder how long it will take before we erupt in rage again, or become indifferent.
Indifference will be a disaster.
Rage will be something that the politicians will not like. They prefer indifference.
Yet, while India (and the world) needs better roads, power networks, shiny cars and mobile phones and gadgets; we need the security and sense of freedom to be able to walk down the street without fear of being raped, killed, lynched or robbed.
One day, hopefully, when leaders of all shapes, sizes, races and genders realise this, as they whizz by in their shiny bullet-proof cars, they will also contribute to make this world a better place.