Americans in Bangalore to jig as Obama takes over

January 19th, 2009 - 6:53 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaBangalore, Jan 19 (IANS) Americans living in India’s tech hub will clink wine glasses and do a jig or two Tuesday evening to celebrate the historic moment of Barack Obama taking oath as the first Black president of the US.”Of course, we will celebrate the historic moment, though not in a big way. We are going to catch all the action of Obama’s inaugural ceremony live despite the event taking place far away when it’s midnight here,” US Commercial Service specialist Leonard Roberts told IANS Monday.

“About 30 employees of our office will take part in the celebration, most of whom are American natives,” Roberts said.

The commercial service wing of the US embassy helps American firms export goods and services to India.

The Obama celebrations will begin in India around 11 p.m. Tuesday as the swearing-in ceremony unfolds in Washington DC from 11.30 p.m. onwards.

“We’re not having any official celebration to mark the occasion. But our employees will celebrate Tuesday on their own,” said Madhu Naidu, branch secretary of the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce.

“We’re hoping that Obama taking over as the 44th US president will bring about a huge change in the ailing US economy and the much-maligned foreign policy,” said American software engineer Anna Libkhen, who works for an international financial firm in India’s own Silicon Valley.

“He is a true statesman and will lead the country and the world towards prosperity and peace. Hence, Obama’s swearing-in ceremony obviously needs to be celebrated.”

Libkhen and her group of friends, mostly from America, have organised a get-together in a city restaurant Tuesday to celebrate Obama assuming the world’s most powerful office.

“Obama is the person to bail out the world from economic crisis and stop unnecessary wars in various countries that broke during (outgoing) Republican President George W. Bush regime,” said Eric Stuckey, a native of Michigan, and working as a software professional for an Amercian IT firm in Bangalore.

“His policies towards India are pragmatic and will help in building close strategic and economic partnership between the two countries. We are hopeful a new chapter will start between India and America during Obama’s tenure,” Eric said.

Obama has already chalked out his plans. According to incoming White House spokesman Robert Gibbs, Obama will deal with military withdrawal from Iraq and the domestic financial crisis after his swearing-in ceremony.

Although Obama’s comment on outsourcing of IT-related work to India has caused flutter among Indian firms, yet Amercians based in Bangalore has a different take on it.

“Obama is clear about all the contentious election topics, including outsourcing and globalisation,” said Susan David, a software professional from New York, working in Bangalore.

“Obama has also said he would give top priority to build close strategic partnership with India under his presidency. Thus we hope more businesses, especially in the IT sector will happen between the two countries in coming years,” added Susan.

Even in downturn, the US market continues to remain a major contributor to the Indian IT industry, accounting for about 60 percent of the export revenue.

As the world’s fourth technology hub, Bangalore remains the most-preferred destination for global firms, including several American multinationals such as Accenture, Cisco, Dell, HP, IBM, Intel, Microsoft and Texas Instruments.

According to the foreigners’ registration office, an estimated 6,000 US citizens live in Bangalore and are engaged in diverse professions, including IT, pharma and media.

A bunch of young Bangaloreans have also decided to join the celebrations as for them Obama is a world leader.

“Obama is for change and we too stand for change. The world is facing hard times because of global recession and terror strikes. A man of Obama’s stature and integrity is sure to bring betterment of the world,” said Jitesh Pillai, an entrepreneur, who, along with his friends, has decided to throw a party at his home in a suburb.

Echoing Jitesh, Manohar Sarma, an IT professional, said he was not bothered about Obama’s view on outsourcing.

“India ranks top among Obama’s priority and India’s growing economy will attract America’s attention in the coming years. Obama is a world leader and we should hail his victory,” said Manohar.

Incidentally, in the run-up to the US presidential elections, a group of techies in Bangalore formed the Barack Obama Bangalore Fan Club in August last year to garner support for the Democrat. The club lobbied with Indo-Americans to vote for Obama by SMSing and e-mailing them.

The club had raised Rs. 200,000 (approx $4,500) from fellow Bangaloreans as contribution to his election fund.

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