Indian Media, Politicians Beguiled by Obama’s Charms

In a recent Feet in 2 Worlds post, writer Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska, wrote that ethnic minorities pay attention and cast a favorable eye on a political candidate when he takes the time to acknowledge their communities.

Nothing provides a better object lesson for that sentiment than the contents of Sen. Barack Obama’s pockets.

Obama, asked by a woman at a town hall what he carried in his pockets, revealed a handful of good luck charms given to him by well-wishers on the campaign trail. They included a bracelet of a soldier deployed in Iraq, a poker chip, some lucky coins, a Madonna and child, and a small “monkey god.”

A picture of Obama’s palms outstretched with the charms scattered across them made Time’sWhite House Picture of the Day,’ and the little “monkey god”, Hanuman, caught the eye of many Indians.

The headlines in the Indian press were ecstatic, praising Obama for seeking aid in the Lord Hanuman, such as “Obama Takes Hanuman’s Blessing in Race for White House.”

Some Indians saw it as an embrace of Hinduism, and one erstwhile member of the Indian Congress decided to send a sanctified, two-foot high Hanuman idol to Obama for good luck.

Obama has deep faith in Lord Hanuman and that is why we are presenting an idol of Hanuman to him,” said Indian Congressman Brijmohan Bhama.

The idol was prayed over for eleven straight days before being packed and shipped to the United States.

“Deep faith” may be questionable, but as the Washington Post reported, it’s making Indian Americans, solidly behind the Clintons during the primaries, take notice.

“They think it’s kind of neat. They rarely see our religion played out in the mainstream media in America,” Bhavna Pandit, an Indian American political fundraiser told The Post.

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