Barack Obama talks about Manmohan Singh, current Indian politics and “Divisive Nationalism” in his memoir

The former US President also spoke about his initial impression with Dr. Manmohan Singh

Barack Obama sparked a buzz in our country after he talked about former Prime Minister Dr.  Manmohan Singh and Rahul Gandhi in his memoir “A Promised Land.” Politicians from the two major Indian ruling parties had their reactions, but BJP lost no time in criticizing him for his comments.

Topics Obama Addressed


Obama recorded his visit to India, during his presidential campaign and his first term between 2008 and 2012, and addressed the “divisive nationalism touted by the BJP.” He also pointed out some valid impulses that can be found in just about every BJP member, such as violence, greed, corruption, racism, nationalism, and religious intolerance. He feels that these feelings are “too strong” to be contained permanently by any democracy.

He also wrote about how India transitioned to a more marlet-based economy during the ’90s, which led to a good economic growth, a tech boom, and a rising middle class. He felt that Dr. Manmohan Singh was a fitting emblem for this change, who himself belonged to the Sikh minority, but worked more on providing for better living standards and not by appealing to the people’s passions. He was also reputed for not being corrupt. His initial impression of Dr. Singh was of his as a man of “uncommon wisdom and decency.”

He spoke about a dinner he had at Dr. Singh’s home, which Sonia and Rahul Gandhi had also attended. He said Sonia Gandhi listened more than she spoke and often steered the conversation towards Rahul. Rahul, on the other hand seemed earnest and smart, but there was still a nervous and informed quality in him, like a student who did the work to impress the teacher, but deep down lacked the aptitude or passion to master the subject.


(Cover: Getty)