Obama says he had never been to India before his Presidential visit in 2010, but the country had "always held a special place in my imagination."

Spent my childhood years listening to Ramayana and Mahabharata says Barack ObamaPTI file image
news Book excerpt Tuesday, November 17, 2020 - 09:55

Former US President Barack Obama said that he has always held a special place for India due to his childhood years spent in Indonesia listening to the epic Hindu tales of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. "Maybe it was its (India) sheer size, with one-sixth of the world's population, an estimated two thousand distinct ethnic groups, and more than seven hundred languages spoken," Obama writes on his fascination of India in his latest book 'A Promised Land'. Obama says he had never been to India before his Presidential visit in 2010, but the country had "always held a special place in my imagination". 

"Maybe it was because I'd spent a part of my childhood in Indonesia listening to the epic Hindu tales of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, or because of my interest in Eastern religions, or because of a group of Pakistani and Indian college friends who'd taught me to cook dahl and keema and turned me on to Bollywood movies," Obama writes.

Obama's latest book, coinciding with the return of his Vice President Joe Biden to the White House, takes readers on a journey from his earliest political aspirations to the watershed night of November 4, 2008, when he was elected the 44th President of the United States, becoming the first African American to hold the nation's highest office.   

The Former US President's book had created a stir a few days ago after an excerpt on former Congress President Rahul Gandhi hit the news. Obama wrote, "Rahul Gandhi has a nervous, unformed quality about him, as if he were a student who'd done the coursework and was eager to impress the teacher but deep down lacked either the aptitude or the passion to master the subject." 

Also read: Eager student lacking aptitude or passion: What Obama said about Rahul Gandhi

Obama‚Äôs book will be released in two volumes by the Penguin Random House. 'A Promised Land'  is the first volume that will be released on November 17. According to reports, it will be issued released in 25 languages simultaneously.  Obama's other books include 'Dreams from My Father' and 'The Audacity of Hope'.

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