Barack Obama will be the 44th U.S. President - a historic moment in the evolution of the American democracy. This event, i believe, is as big as previous events like the Boston tea party, the American civil war, the franchisement of women in the U.S. and the right to vote for the blacks in the US. 2008 will be remembered for generations to come as the year in which history was made in the US. Why is it such a big issue?
To me, Obama's victory signifies the triumph of democracy - a triumph of 'for the people, by the people and of the people'. This has a huge import for all democracies around the world, as also for all the people who are not living in democracies. It gives hope to people around the world - people whether they belong to majority or minority communities based on religion, race, colour or any other form of human prejudice.
I wanted Obama to win in my heart of hearts but did not see this happening, but the American people have risen to the occasion and proven me wrong. I am happy to be proven wrong on this one occasion. My faith in the American dream - a dream that Martin Luther King had seen, and articulated, way back in the 60s has been re-energised.
I consider America to be the country of my second birth - my stint of about one year in the US in 1989-90 had put me through a lot of introspection and education about the functioning of a democracy. I cherish the lessons that I had learnt in the US, both formally and informally. However, the last decade had put doubts in my mind about what was meant by democracy - was it a shallow ideal where you believed in the concept only for people who swore allegiance to the US flag or was it a concept that would better the way of life for humanity per se, irrespective of their country of allegiance. That doubt has been put to rest in my mind now.
Barack Obama has proven to be a very charismatic and inspiring leader who will hopefully bring about 'change' and 'hope' for the people in the US, and around the world. Now that the easier part is over, he will have to translate his vision, and that of Martin Luther King Jr., into pragamatic steps towards the betterment of people in general. Will he be able to deliver what he promised - Change, fast enough and hope, for eternity??