President Clinton’s visit to India In March 2000:
“The president was sick of not interacting with people,” said White House spokesman Jake Siewert.
It started in the village of Nayla, where Clinton allowed a swarm of colorfully dressed women to shower him with flower petals as they danced and chanted all around him. He did a sort of hopping dance in response, and the funny, happy scene aired on televisions throughout the world. Today in Hyderabad, Clinton spoke to high-tech industry executives and then plunged into the crowd to shake hands as if it were an election-eve rally. “¦ Tonight, at a meeting of business executives in Bombay, the president spoke fondly of the Nayla scene, when flower petals rained on him. “I’m known now for not dancing very well,” he said. [Washington Post, 3/25/00]
President Bush’s visit to India today:
Tens of thousands of Indians waving black and white flags and chanting “Death to Bush!” rallied Wednesday in New Delhi to protest a visit by President Bush. “¦ “Whether Hindu or Muslim, the people of India have gathered here to show our anger. We have only one message “” killer Bush go home,” one of the speakers, Hindu politician Raj Babbar, told the crowd. [AP, 3/1/06]
The AP adds some more historical detail to the decline in the international respect for the American president. “The mood in New Delhi was much changed from 1959 when President Eisenhower became the first U.S. president to visit the nation. Then, an estimated 1 million joyous Indians threw rose petals at Eisenhower as he rode in an open limousine along a route where a sign heralded him as ‘Prince of Peace.’” One thing is certain — Indians no longer see the U.S. President as a “Prince of Peace.”