27 March 2014

Barack Obama On Swami Vivekananda

In this website we are working on a series of articles on notable and eminent personalities' quotes and comments on Swami Vivekananda. The topic of our this article is United States president Barack Obama's quotes and comments on Swami Vivekananda.


In November 2010, Barack Obama,  the 44th President of the United States visited India. It was a part of a 10-days four-nation tour of Asia. The President, with his wife Michelle, arrived at Mumbai airport on 6 November. He stayed in India till 9 November and then he left for Jakarta.

On 8 November 2010, Monday, he travelled to New Delhi and to meet the President (Pratibha Patil) and the Prime Minister (Dr. Manmohan Singh) of India. Later on that day he delivered a speech at the Parliament of India in New Delhi.


In the speech Obama told that he was feeling honoured for getting an opportunity to address "the representatives of more than one billion Indians and the world’s largest democracy". He talked on India-United States relationship, India's position in the world, United States' administrations' works etc. The speech also touched sensitive issue like use of nuclear energy.

"The renowned Swami Vivekananda"

Barack Obama addressing the Parliament of India, 8 November 2010
—Image source: Reuters
During the speech Brack Obama told—
Instead of resisting the global economy, you became one of its engines —- reforming the licensing raj and unleashing an economic marvel that has lifted tens of millions of people from poverty and created one of the world’s largest middle classes.

Instead of succumbing to division, you have shown that the strength of India —- the very idea of India —- is its embrace of all colors, all castes, all creeds.  (Applause.)  It's the diversity represented in this chamber today.  It’s the richness of faiths celebrated by a visitor to my hometown of Chicago more than a century ago -— the renowned Swami Vivekananda.  He said that, "holiness, purity and charity are not the exclusive possessions of any church in the world, and that every system has produced men and women of the most exalted character."

And instead of being lured by the false notion that progress must come at the expense of freedom, you built the institutions upon which true democracy depends —- free and fair elections, which enable citizens to choose their own leaders without recourse to arms -- (applause) -- an independent judiciary and the rule of law, which allows people to address their grievances; and a thriving free press and vibrant civil society which allows every voice to be heard.  This year, as India marks 60 years with a strong and democratic constitution, the lesson is clear:  India has succeeded, not in spite of democracy; India has succeeded because of democracy. 


Here you may listed to the portion of the speech, where Barack Obama mentioned Swami Viveknanda—

This audio is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work prepared by an officer or employee of the United States Government as part of that person’s official duties under the terms of Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 105 of the US Code. See Copyright.

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This page was last updated on: 27 March 2014, 9:12 am IST (UTC+5:30 hours)
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