President Barack Hussein Obama (1961 - ) is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. In his trip to India he noted:
“….Indians unlocked the intricacies of the human body and the vastness of our universe. And it is no exaggeration to say that our information age is rooted in Indian innovations—including the number zero. India not only opened our minds, she expanded our moral imagination. With religious texts that still summon the faithful to lives of dignity and discipline.”
"And we believe that when countries and cultures put aside old habits and attitudes that keep people apart, when we recognize our common humanity, then we can begin to fulfill the aspirations we share. It’s a simple lesson contained in that collection of stories which has guided Indians for centuries—the Panchtantra. And it’s the spirit of the inscription seen by all who enter this great hall:
‘That one is mine and the other a stranger is the concept of little minds. But to the large-hearted, the world itself is their family.” is a translation of a Sanskrit subhashita:
“Ayam nija paro vedi gananam laghu chetasam
Udaara charitanam tu vasudaiva kutumbakam”. - Maha Upanishad, Verse 71.
Obama made references, both explicit and oblique, to Rabindranath Tagore and Swami Vivekananda, and to the tales of the Panchatantra and to a dictum from the Bhagavad Gita.
US President said: “Instead of succumbing to division, you have shown that the strength of India — the very idea of India — is its embrace of all colours, castes and creeds. 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’.”
He did not attempt the Sanskrit original “Vasudeva kutumbakam” but everyone smiled at his reference to the Bhagavad Gita. He spoke about how much Mahatma Gandhi meant to him, adding without flourish: “And I am mindful that I might not be standing before you today, as President of the United States, had it not been for Gandhi and the message he shared with America and the world.”
(source: A Global Partnership - BJP and Land of milk, honey and Obama prose – By Manini Chatterjee - telegraphindia.com).