Indian Americans Take Note Of Barack Obama, Thanks To Hanuman

Barack Obama

Barack Obama

Indian Americans Take Note Of Barack Obama, Thanks To Hanuman
Posted at 7:12 PM ET on Jun 27, 2008
By Matthew Mosk

When it comes to American politicians, Bill Clinton has been the darling of India.

That love extended to Hillary Clinton during the Democratic primaries — especially with respect to fundraising among Indian Americans, who grew to become a significant base of support for her White House bid.

But now a surprise revelation during an off-the-cuff exchange in Albuquerque, N.M., has turned Barack Obama into the talk of the Indian news media.

At a town hall meeting, a woman asked Obama what kept him grounded, and in response he emptied his pockets. “People are so generous to me, investing their hopes in me,” he said, holding up a cupped hand full of trinkets. “This I usually don’t show in these town hall meetings. I have all these things that people give me — all these different little good luck charms.”

One of the trinkets, it turns out, was a tiny figurine of Hanuman — the Hindu monkey god.

“It’s a big deal,” said Bhavna Pandit, 28, a political fundraising consultant based in Washington who thinks the revelations will lead to new interest in Obama among Indian American donors.

Pandit said news of the Obama trinket has swept across Indian American living rooms and through Indian newspapers and TV networks. She said the people she knows as “aunties and uncles” — women and men from her parents’ generation — are suddenly taking note of Obama in a way they had not done before. “They think it’s kind of neat. They rarely see our religion played out in the mainstream media in America.”

And, she said, “In India, they’re like, ‘Wow! The person who can be the president has a connection to us that’s very personal.'”




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