His Life Story, from Poverty to Prime Minister, Reflects India’s Dynamism: Obama About Modi in 2015

In 2015, former US President Barack Obama, in a piece in the Time magazine, had described Prime Minister Narendra Modi as India’s “reformer-in-chief”.

“As a boy, Narendra Modi helped his father sell tea to support their family. Today, he’s the leader of the world’s largest democracy, and his life story—from poverty to Prime Minister—reflects the dynamism and potential of India’s rise,” Obama had said.

The former US President had said Modi was determined to help more Indians follow in his path. “He’s laid out an ambitious vision to reduce extreme poverty, improve education, empower women and girls and unleash India’s true economic potential while confronting climate change,” Obama had said, adding that “like India”, he transcended the ancient and the modern, calling the PM a devotee of yoga who connected with Indian citizens on Twitter and imagined a “digital India.”

Recalling Modi’s visit to Washington, Obama had said Modi and him visited the memorial to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and reflected on the teachings of King and Gandhi, and how the diversity of backgrounds and faiths in their countries was a strength they had to protect. “Prime Minister Modi recognizes that more than 1 billion Indians living and succeeding together can be an inspiring model for the world,” he had said.

In his latest book, Obama has said that Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has a “nervous, unformed quality” about him like a student eager to impress the teacher but lacking aptitude and passion to “master the subject.” The New York Times reviewed Obama’s memoir ‘A Promised Land’, in which among other issues, the first Black American President has talked about political leaders from around the world.

Gandhi’s mother and Congress president Sonia Gandhi also appears to find mention in the memoir. The NYT review said in the memoir “we are told of the handsomeness of men like Charlie Crist and Rahm Emanuel, but not the beauty of women, except for one or two instances, as in the case of Sonia Gandhi.” Former US Secretary of Defence Bob Gates and former Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh both come across as having a kind of impassive integrity, the review states.

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