Barack Obama could not see Taj; remembers Humayun’s Tomb visit

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New Delhi | Published: January 27, 2015 7:17:44 PM

It was a pleasant surprise for US President Barack Obama when he spotted 16-year-old Vishal in the Town Hall gathering today...

US President Barack Obama addressing a function at Siri Fort Auditorium in New Delhi on Tuesday. (PTI)US President Barack Obama addressing a function at Siri Fort Auditorium in New Delhi on Tuesday. (PTI)

It was a pleasant surprise for US President Barack Obama when he spotted 16-year-old Vishal in the Town Hall gathering today whom he had met four years ago working along with some construction workers during his visit to the Humayun’s Tomb.

“Just want to tell you a quick story. On our last visit here we visited Humayun’s Tomb. We met some of the labourers who are the backbone of this nation’s progress. We met the children and their families as well.

“Some wonderful young children with bright smiles and spark in their eyes and one of the children was a boy named Vishal. And today Vishal is 16 years old and he and his family live in south Delhi in a village,” he said looking at Vishal who was sitting among the audience.

His mother works at Humayun’s Tomb. His sister is in university and she wants to become a teacher. His brother is a construction worker earning his daily wage and his father works as a stone layer so that Vishal can go to school. He likes watching ‘Kabaddi’, Obama said introducing Vishal and his family.

Vishal wants to join armed forces. We are very proud of him and he is the example of the talent that is here. Vishal’s dreams are as important as Malia and Sasha’s dreams (Obama’s daughters), he said.

“We want him to have the same opportunities,” the US President said as the crowd applauded Vishal’s effort.

An elated Vishal, later told mediapersons, that he was feeling lucky to have been mentioned in the event.

“I am feeling lucky today. Lucky and happy. They motivated us,” he told reporters.

Obama said he was so optimistic about India and US’ future. “We reach far heights, previous generations could not even imagine. We respect human rights and human dignity and it is accorded in our constitutions. And we keep striving to live up to those ideals,” he said.

“We believe in the father working far from home sending money back home so that his family might have a better life. We believe in the mother who goes without (food) so that her children might have something more. We believe in the labour earning his daily wage and the student pursuing her degree.

“We believe in a young boy who knows if he just keeps studying, if he is just given the chances, his hopes might be realised too. We are all beautiful flowers from the same garden. Branches of the same majestic tree,” Obama said.

He said US will increase collaboration between our colleges and universities and help create the next Indian Institute of Technology.

We will encourage young entrepreneurs who want to start a business and will increase exchanges because I want more American students coming to India than Indian students coming to America. In that way we can learn from each other and we can go further because one of the things we have come across is that Indians and Americans are some of the hardest working people, Obama said.

“I am the first American President to come to your country twice but I predict I will not be the last because as Americans we believe in the promise of India, we believe in the people of India. We are proud to be your friend. We are proud to be your partner as you build the country of your dreams,” he added.

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