Can Singh Match Obama politically?

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Jagmeet Singh’s announcement that he has started his campaign for the Prime minister of Canada compels one to draw parallels between the two – Obama and Singh, their backgrounds, and their ideologies.

Ludhiana, The Hush Post: Circumstances have a way of ruining people but some harmonise their character to suit circumstances. When Jagmeet Singh, New Democratic Canadian Sikh leader said time and again “We love you, we all love you,” to Jennifer, the famous ‘hate monger’ not many knew he was an old hat at it. But this time round his videos of composure in the face of adversity went viral. Back in Punjab, his videos are being shown as motivational for the youth and whoever finds himself tied in circumstances. Today Jagmeet reminds one of ‘the skinny kid with a funny name who believed that America had a place for him, too’….and, he did become the president of the United States of America. Jagmeet Singh’s announcement that he has started his campaign for the Prime minister of Canada compels one to draw parallels between the two – Obama and Singh, their backgrounds, and their ideologies.

Remember, Obama’s speech at the 2004 convention where towards the end, his voice touched a crescendo, and he said, ‘Hope in the face of difficulty, hope in the face of uncertainty, the audacity of hope: In the end, that is God’s greatest gift to us, the bedrock of this nation, a belief in things not seen, a belief that there are better days ahead.’ Now compare this excerpt with Jagmeet’s speech where he makes people understand the concept of Chardi Kala. Chardi kala is an important precept of his religion, which Jagmeet learned from his mother. “It’s the idea of maintaining optimism in the face of adversity,” he said. And the practice of maintaining optimism in the face of adversity is what the world saw a video where he was heckled by a certain Jennifer Bush of the anti-Islam group, Rise Canada and he came out on top. If one observes the entire video where he is heckled, there are in all about 20 people trying to resolve the situation. A closer look will tell you that many of them, an old Sikh gentleman included were kind of nervous at the turn of events. But Jagmeet held his calm. Throughout those five minutes he kept telling Jennifer, ‘We all love you, we all love you,’ time and again. A thing or two for Indian politicians to learn from this episode, this happens every so often in India and the result is mob bashing, sometimes backed by the leaders themselves.

Jagmeet, whose full name is Jagmeet Singh Dhaliwal, stopped using his surname, because it was essentially a caste, a kind of reminder of social inequality. Instead, he retained Singh, because, it is associated with the spiritual beliefs of his religion.

Fluent in English, Punjabi, French and Urdu, Jagmeet loves colourful turbans and has a unique sense of fashion. He also practices Brazilian Ju-Jitsu. So in a sense he is multicultural just as much as he is a Sikh and draws inspiration from whatever comes his way, circumstances, whether good or bad.

What goes in his favour is the fact that the party that Singh heads has a history of choosing groundbreaking leaders. David Lewis, who became the NDP’s second chief in 1971, was the first Jewish leader of a federal party. But Jagmeet does not look for circumstances, he makes them favourable.