President Barack Obama and new friend, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, told Indians a little more about themselves when they answered questions via social media on a radio show.
Here’s what we learned about the two world leaders:
--Obama daughters Sasha and Malia wanted to come on the trip to India with their parents but they are in school back in Washington.
“They are fascinated by the culture and the history of India, in part because of my influence, I think,” Obama said “They are deeply moved by India’s movement to independence and the role that Gandhi played in not only the nonviolent strategies here in India but how those ended up influencing the nonviolent Civil Rights Movement in the United States.”
--Modi is inspired by Benjamin Franklin, whose autobiography he read as a child.
“He lived to a ripe old age, and he never did become president of the United States,” Modi said. “But his life is really inspirational: how one person can manage to change his life; how he can make those attempts intelligently; how he can deliberately seek to reduce the number of hours that he needs to sleep, how to reduce the amount of food -- the kind of hunger that he feels; and how to influence people who are angry with him, how to find solutions to that.”
--Obama gave Modi about Hindu monk Swami Vivekananda, credited with bringing yoga to the western world, and his attendance at a world religion conference in Chicago in 1894. It even included Obama’s own notes.
“His gifting me that book was something that really deeply touched me,” Modi said. “And it wasn’t just that. He had actually opened that book, read through that book, and actually put notes on the pages for me.”
--Obama never imagined he would be president.
“When I first went to the White House I stood outside that same fence and looked in. And I certainly did not imagine that I would ever be visiting there, much less living there,” Obama said. “ I think both of us have been blessed with extraordinary opportunity, coming from relatively humble beginnings. And when I think about what’s best in America and what’s best in India, the notion that a tea seller or somebody who is born to a single mother, like me, could end up leading our countries is an extraordinary example of the opportunities that exist within our countries.”