New Delhi. As soon as the news broke that US President Barack Obama had been awarded Nobel Peace Prize for 2009, violent clashes erupted between various groups of people in India. Most of these people wanted to believe that Obama was ‘one of them’, while the other groups disputed their claims. Sources say that around 44 people have been injured, 13 of them seriously, in the clashes in different parts of the country till reports last came in.
Groups of Hindus and Muslims clashed with each other in Miraj, Maharashtra only a few weeks after they had fought over a poster of “Tom & Jerry”. While Muslims claimed Obama as one of them for having ‘Hussein’ as his middle name, Hindus claimed Obama to be a devout worshiper of Hanumaan as he always kept a small idol of the monkey god with him. The situation became quite tense as both the groups started hurling jokes at each other. The situation was brought under control when police opened fire at the crowd and beat them up with lathis.
Clashes were also reported from Tamil Nadu as a group of Tamil and Hindi speaking guys got into an argument in Chennai. Tamils claimed that name of the US President was Obamma, which was similar to names like Jayamma, Muniamma or Nagaratnamma, proving that the President was a Tamil. Hindi guys disputed the claim by arguing that Obama’s first name was Barack, which was similar to any other Hindi/Urdu name such as Mubarak, Mehak or Sadak. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi has criticized Hindi speaking people for making an issue out of nothing and has challenged them to first prove that Lord Rama ever existed, creating further tensions.
Although Raj Thackeray criticized Karunanidhi for his remarks on Lord Rama, his party MNS warned that any victory procession by North Indians, especially Hindi speaking bhaiyyas, over the Nobel Peace Prize going to Obama will not be tolerated. So while clashes with North Indians didn’t take place in Mumbai, the city still witnessed some violence when Shiv Sainiks attacked a procession by Goan Christians who were celebrating victory of Obama as they thought that Obama was a devout Christian and a messenger of peace.
Clashes were also reported from Chitrakoot in Uttar Pradesh where Brahmins and Dhobis attacked each other. Dhobis, one of the so-called backward castes among the Hindus, claimed Obama as one of their own as he had a donkey for an election symbol. Their claim was refuted by Brahmins, who counterclaimed that Obama was undoubtedly a Brahmin as he was a learned man with power. Situation got very tense when Brahmins taunted that if Dhobis were right then the dog that Obama brought for his daughters would be the most useless character in the White House, as it would be a “dhobi ka kutta“.
Clashes also took between Marketing and Sales department of Emami Group as sales people claimed that it is going to be very difficult to sell “Fair and Handsome” cream now as Indian men may no longer aspire to have a fair skin. They claimed that men would rather prefer a tanned color (as defined by Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi) like Obama, for the US President has now got a larger than life image after having won the Nobel Peace Prize. But the marketing team accused the sales team of throwing excuses for not putting enough effort in selling the cream, and claimed that Shahrukh Khan remained a stronger motivator than Barack Obama in India among the youth.
Earlier, clashes between North Indians and South Indians and between Tamil Brahmins and other Tamils had taken place on Rediff messageboards and orkut communities, when Venkatraman “Venky” Ramakrishnan, a person of Indian origin, was awarded Nobel Prize for Chemistry.