The Beastie Boys Were Here

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.


  1. I will be relieved also when he leaves office…. but then I will be relieved more so when governments remember they are of service to the “ordinary people” we are not “servants” to them…

    he chews gum because he is supposedly giving up smoking, it was his somewhat half-hearted attempt to appease the public since the “healthy” lifestyle his wife has decided we should live by because she knows best for the little people

    we live in crazy times….I always wonder if the rest of the world thinks all Americans are the face of our out-of-control government….sad, because some of us actually have common sense and compassion…..

    good post…
    Take Care…You Matter…

    1. Thank you. I actually discovered this smoking& gum thing later. I saw him at TV chewing gum, and thought – what the hell??!

      Well, I have some very good friends who are Americans, and have had some marvellous conversations with many of you in the blog world. Also, with some brilliant American photographers.

      Your politicians don’t help your country, however.

      1. he chews gum as if he is bored with the peasants surrounding him, which he probably is ….

        Thank you it’s nice to know some don’t see us as our media and government portrays America…

        our politicians hurt America…they are destroying or maybe disassembling what America stand for… and the saddest of all that is we have sat back too complacent and keep putting them back in office to keep repeating and slowly chip away at our freedoms
        though I do think the tides are shifting again, more are waking up, we can hope it won’t be too late

        Hope you have a wonderful week

  2. A thoughtful and interesting post. I often turn a blind eye out of post colonial guilt, but you really have highlighted the imbalance here.

    Although in fairness, pets have rank regardless- a cat is generally commander in chief…

    1. Pets do indeed have rank. May I ask, why do you have post colonial guilt? I am reading a lot about Indian history. The British record is mixed, I think. They are guilty of a lot. However, they did give India many of it’s modern institutions, the railways, some fine colleges etc. The motive for these may have been British-centric, however, they have benefited us. The pity is that we have not built upon them

      1. I think as a nation, the English are a little ignorant of the negative effects of our former empire. Once you realise some of the terrible things we have done, it makes you a little embarrassed when you see some of the long term effects. India, I think, came out better than some others (Zimbabwe and our part in the founding of Israel come to mind) but I still feel a little shame about our actions.

        I quite agree that there are positives, not least that we have created a wealth of countries that can humiliate us on the cricket field (now including Afghanistan!).

        I hope that India’s recent prosperity will eventually have a positive effect on the whole country, as I am yet to meet anyone from your homeland I haven’t found warm, friendly, and willing to let me purloined good recipes from! But the realist in me completely understands your doubt. I shall continue to hope though!

      2. You know, the East India Company did sneak in to power in India, and one of the reasons they were successful, is that there was no sense of nation, especially after the Mughal Dynasty started to decline. The power vacuum helped them. It seems that the Brits until the end of the 1700’s had adopted Indian customs (lots had, at least). It was around the 1820’s that the division between the British and the Indians hardened, especially with the advent of hard core Bible spouting missionaries. Having said that, one of the founders of the Indian National Congress was a Brit who did suffer at the hands of the mutineers in 1857, but did not allow that experience to embitter him.

        It seems that the seeds of the jihadi movement were sown in 1857 during the mutiny thanks to the hardline shown by the Brits after they beat back the mutineers. This was in a place called Deoband. While this movement has moved from India to other parts of the world, the Hindus have not done much to bridge the gap. It was in 1857 that the Muslims and Hindus fought together as one.

        It was Nehru’s ambition, and Jinnah’s, that was part of the reason for the split of the country. And, we have enough crazy fundamentalist Hindus these days.

        We too, are not guiltless.

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