Friday, February 6, 2009


Yes, you are seeing it whole. That is Barack Obama, the man with holes in his soles. And he is not on a dole. He is the President of the Unites States, the richest country in the world, pole to pole. No designer shoes for him with shining soles. They they don't embarrass or belittle him, these holes. There are none where they can diminish or even demonize him, his soul.

Can you even imagine any young Indian politicians with pretensions of being Indian Obamas having holes in their designer shoes? Can you ever catch them with clothing and accessories, top to bottom, like those worn by ordinary Indians? Forget holes, you will not find even an expensive stitch out of place. Remember Home Minister Shivraj Patil, India's Home Minister, who was careful enough to be seen in three different dresses in three different places within three hours even as Delhi was being hit by serial blasts and people were dying minutes away from him?

The holes in Barack Obama's soles are impressions made by hard work and character. They are badges of pride for a man of character and integrity. They tell the world that the man does not have holes where they are unacceptable in a leader. That is why, when he announces a salary cap of $500,000 for top executives of companies that receive taxpayer-funded largesse, he does not sound phony. He walks the talk.

Smart Indian politicians, on the other hand, may well be found spending $35,000 on a commode, like the ex-chief of Merrill Lynch did or $15,000 on an umbrella stand, like the one bought by former Tyco boss Dennis Kozlowski. Holes in soles? Are you kidding? You won't find them there, ever! The holes that they have are not in their impressive external embellishments; they are in their souls.

Barack Obama may not be President of India. But this photograph of his should be given to all Indian political leaders and they should be asked to meditate on it for at least 15 minutes each day. May be then their holes might shift to places where they can, with due humility, show them to all Indians with pride.