A little more than two years after Barack Obama made a headline-grabbing visit to India,another,lesser-known Obama has made a quiet trip to the country and reached out to it in the name of the US president.
Malik Obama,the Kenyan older half-brother of Barack Obama,was in India last week as the chief guest at a convention organised by a spiritual leader in Vrindavan,Mathura,and even took part in an event to clean the Yamuna river as part of the convention.
Guru Kumar Swami and I met when he was on a visit to New York in 2011. He got in touch with me through my philanthropic foundation,the Barack H. Obama Foundation,of which I am the chairman and founder, Malik told The Indian Express,referring to Bramhrishi Kumar Swami of the Bhagwan Shree Lakshmi Narayan Dham (BSLND),who had organised the convention on February 24.
We work for the alleviation of the standard of living of the needy and also take up environmental work. This is where Guruji and I crossed each others path, Malik said by phone from Kenyas Siaya county where he lives.
Malik is a financial consultant and has worked for the American Red Cross and firms such as Lockheed Martin and the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae),among others. A graduate in finance and accountancy,Malik is now eyeing a role in Kenyas politics.
Kenya is due to hold general elections on March 4 and Malik is actively seeking and campaigning for the post of Siayas governor. Malik is an independent candidate and is expected to win because of his famous half-brother. Locals expect him to bring foreign donors to Kenya if he wins.
His foundation,which is named after his half-brother,has joined hands with BSLND to clean the Yamuna. The Yamuna is an important river because of its geographical and religious position in India. So it is our duty and obligation to rid it of pollution. Guruji and the Barack H. Obama foundation are in this for the long run, said Malik,
Malik,who managed to visit the Taj Mahal,called his India trip an abrupt one,undertaken just for the pull of its motive and Guru Kumar Swami. Guruji has thousands and thousands of followers across the world. He has a noble mission and insists he is an ordinary human being. That is his greatness. I am always on the lookout for people who want to make their contribution to making a positive change for mankind, said Malik,who arrived in India on February 22 and flew back on February 24.
Although he insists he is a practising Muslim,he holds Kumar Swami and his teachings in high esteem. I am very religious and spiritual myself. Guruji and I have something in common: the path of God and help for mankind, said Malik. At the end of the day,we must embrace other cultures and live together happily.
Asked if his half-brother knows about Kumar Swami,Malik said: My brother is a very broad-minded person. Though he is Christian,I wouldnt be surprised if he knew about him. Ours is a very cosmopolitan and international family.